With its bright green fleshy leaves and crunchy white stems, bok choy is a versatile Chinese vegetable in cooking. Some types of bok choy are about the size of napa cabbage, with crispy ribs that can be white or light green, and vibrant dark green leaves, others are solid light green, reddish-green, and even golden-yellow. Smaller types, labeled “baby bok choy”, are cultivars that mature fast at just a few inches tall and are perfect for cooking whole. Both types can be used in bok choy recipes. You can find bok choy at supermarkets and Asian grocery stores—and, of course, bok choy is an easy vegetable to grow yourself. Here's how to grow bok choy in your garden.
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In addition to being delicious, bok choy is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. Bok choy contains bone-building calcium as well as vitamins A and C, folic acid, iron, and potassium, the last of which helps keep your muscles and nerves working properly, and also helps to control blood pressure. Bok choy also contains antioxidant plant compounds known as carotenoids, which prevent damage from free radicals (the waste products our bodies produce when cells use fuel to create energy). While all plant-based antioxidants benefit your brain, cruciferous vegetables such as bok choy are especially effective: the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s National Institute on Aging notes that cruciferous vegetables such as bok choy and brocolli are associated with a reduced rate of cognitive decline when it comes to conditions like Alzheimer's disease.
Both the larger and baby types of bok choy can be used in these bok choy recipes, though in some cases you will want to chop the larger type into small pieces, where you can cook baby bok choy whole.
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