How To Harvest Bok Choy

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How To Harvest Bok Choy

Bok choy is a variety of Chinese cabbage which can be used in all kinds of delicious dishes, thanks to the size of its leaves and the tenderness of its stems.

It has a subtle cabbage-like flavor (which is unsurprising since it’s part of the cabbage family!), but also has hints of celery, and it brings these refreshing flavors to healthy salads, mouth watering stir fries, and various steamed dishes. 

However, if you’re growing bok choy yourself, then you’ll need to know how to harvest it properly, including the right method and the right time.

If these are done wrongly, then you’re going to risk ruining the plant and your meals. 

The short answer is that the best time to harvest your bok choy depends on what variety you’re growing, and it’s a good idea to harvest the smaller plants since they’ll give you a less acidic flavor.

However, there’s so many important details to learn about harvesting bok choy, and we’ve got all the answers in our handy guide below. Read on!

When Should You Harvest Bok Choy?

One of the key components of successfully harvesting your bok choy is by doing it at the optimum time. If you harvest them too early, they won’t be ready, and you also don’t want to leave them too late.

As a result, you will need to know the best times to harvest them, and keep a keen eye on them as they grow and mature.

On the whole, the ideal harvesting time will vary a little based on what type (or “cultivar”) of bok choy you’re growing. 

Generally speaking, though, most bok choy cultivars will have matured fully in the period between 50 and 70 days after their germination.

However, you can actually deliberately harvest them far sooner than that (around the 30-35 day mark) in order to get leaves that are much more tender.

Knowing When Your Bok Choy Is Mature

If you don’t want to harvest your bok choy prematurely for a tender taste, then you’ll need to know when your specific cultivar has matured fully.

You can do this by measuring it and tracking it over time, because each cultivar has an average size that it’s typically matured at.

In order to find out the average size for your cultivar, check your seed packet and look for information about its height and width when mature.

If the information isn’t there, then do some research online using the name of your cultivar. 

The average size varies depending on each cultivar. For example, some bok choy cultivars will usually be fully mature when they reach about 18-24 inches in height and 12 in width.

However, others might be smaller or larger.

How To Harvest Bok Choy

When you’ve found out the specific average for yours, begin measuring the height and width of your plant. Note it down each time, then go back the next day and do it again.

If you do it every few days, you’ll be able to track the bok choy’s growth. 

On top of this, you need to be tracking the amount of time since the plant’s germination. The germination point is when your plant develops from its seed, properly developing for the first time.

As soon as it first sprouts after planting, write down the date on your calendar!

Once your bok choy has reached the average size for its cultivar to be fully mature, and it’s been 50 to 70 days since its germination, then it’s ready for harvesting!

Now all you have to do is pick it properly, which we’ll explain in the next section. 

How Should You Pick Your Bok Choy?

Thankfully, picking your bok choy is a lot easier than tracking the right time to harvest it. All you’ll need is a pair of garden scissors. If you don’t have any, though, kitchen scissors will do.

Firstly, the best time of day to harvest bok choy is in the early morning, because the temperatures should be at their coolest.

This is essential, because as the day gets hotter and the sun comes out more, it will start to drain moisture from your plants.

You don’t want this, because the leaves and stems could dry out and go rubbery, so it’s best to pick them when they’re fresh and cool.

Next, locate the base of your plant. After that, carefully lift up the base of the bok choy’s stems, then cut the short room stem that’s just below the base.

Be sure that you’re careful when using sharp scissors, and keep them away from children. Once you’ve made your cut, you should be left with a lovely bunch of leaves for you to cook with.

You might want to choose the smaller plants when harvesting. This is because they will give you a smooth flavor that’s less acidic, and this combination works much better for fresh recipes. 

How Can You Store Bok Choy?

Once you’ve harvested your bok choy properly, you’ll probably want to store it so that it keeps fresh for a while.

Thankfully, bok choy is pretty easy to store, as long as you follow the right steps. If you don’t store it properly, it could spoil quickly, ruining your meals and potentially making you ill!

In order to store it, first shake it so that all possible dirt has come off it. Since you harvested it, it will have been covered in dirt and soil, which you need to get rid of.

However, you SHOULDN’T wash it! Simply shake.

After that, cover the bok choy fully in aluminum foil. Make sure it’s wrapped completely, with all 4 sides of the foil folded over and the whole thing in a neat parcel. 

Finally, place the foil parcel in a plastic refrigerator bag and put it in your fridge’s crisper drawer. It’ll keep fresh for a few weeks in here!

Final Thoughts

Bok choy adds delicious flavor to meals, so use our guide to know when and how to harvest it! 

Further Recommendations:

Video: Bok Choy – Bolting & Harvest

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