Chinese Greens is the term used for a variety of leafy green vegetables that are common in Chinese cuisine. That mostly refers to the 3 common plants called Gal Lan, Choy Sum and Bok Choy. These are sold together and mostly used in salads but also in a few other ways as well.
They are mostly bought within the Asian community in the south but they are also becoming more of a common vegetable amongst everyone else looking for healthy and green ingredients for their dishes.
- -All of these vegetables are known in the west as Chinese Broccoli
- They are all edible for both the leafs and the steams
- There are countless varieties of each
You should look for the color and the firmness of these vegetables when choosing them and that way you’ll make sure that they are fresh. The leafs should be bright green and there should be no black spots or blemishes on them.
It’s also important for the leafs to appear to be firm. If they are flimsy, it means that the plant isn’t fresh and that it may be past the time when it can be used in salads. It can still be stir-fried which is a common way to eat these vegetables.
Production & Farming in Texas
The demand for the plant in Texas exists and it’s about the changing demographics but also about the interest in Asian and global food in general. In other states, the vegetable has proven to be a hit with restaurants and health food buyers, but most farmers in Texas aren’t familiar with how to grow it.
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service have teamed up with local farmers in order to organize a study and see about the prospects for such an endeavor. The difference in climates is the biggest source of concern for the farmers.
“We’re doing the research because demand for Asian vegetables is increasing due to changing demographics and consumer awareness,” Niu said. “Asian vegetables are proven to be profitable crops in other states, but farmers in Texas aren’t familiar with how to grow them and whether they can be profitable. So, we want to look at market demand around the state and field test a range of Asian vegetables in four locations to see if they are a fit for Texas producers.”
The staring budget of the study is set at $50.000 and it will create a potential industry that’s worth much more than that.
Bok Choy is sprayed with pesticides and it’s been shown that these remain on the plant for a rather long time. The chemicals most commonly found on this plant are fungicide chlorothalonil or the insecticide thiamethoxam.
These vegetables are all originated in China and there they are a staple of local cuisine. From China they migrated into local cultures and cuisines and got a local variety and local application in cooking. This is most noticeable in Japan and India.
In the US these vegetables are mostly used in the southern parts where there’s a big Asian community but for years now, non-Asians are also fascinated with them and use them in a variety of dishes not native to Asian cuisine.
The greens are packed both on the field when it’s harvested and in the store where it’s packed for storage. The plant is left in the field after harvesting for about 30 minutes so that it dries and becomes easier to handle.
Then they are packed in boxes and that’s how it’s how it’s sent to the stores where it can be packed in a variety of ways depending on how the store does it.
There are a few ways to eat these vegetables that are common in Asian cuisine. They are mostly used in salads and in pastas. In some cases, they are also pickled and that’s mostly done in Japan. Over time they have also been used in western style dishes as a replacement for cabbage.
For instance, the greens are often used in stir-fried dishes where they are supposed to balance the taste and texture of the meats and the spicier vegetables.
The greens should be stored separately in the individual plastic bags. Make sure you wrap a thin paper towel around them in order to pick up all the water and moist and allow them to last longer. The bags should then be stored in the cooler part of the fridge.
Here’s a simple recipe everyone can make with Chinese greens.
Whisk the oil and oyster sauce with 1 tbsp water in a saucepan. Cook for 2-3 mins until glossy, then set aside.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the greens, turn down the heat and cook for 2 mins, or until just wilted, then drain.
To serve: cut any large bulbs in half and put on a plate. Drizzle the sauce over and serve immediately.
Bok choy is rich in vitamins C, A, K, and folate. It is also a good source of minerals including calcium, phosphorous, and potassium.
Bok choy and other cruciferous vegetables have certain anti-cancer properties.
Studies have shown that some people who eat more cruciferous vegetables have a lower risk of developing lung, prostate, and colon cancer.
Unlike most other fruits and vegetables, Bok choy contains the mineral selenium. Selenium helps to detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body.
Selenium also prevents inflammation and decreases tumor growth rates. Cruciferous and other vegetables also offer protection because they provide fiber. Fiber keeps the stool moving. This keeps the bowel healthy and reduces the risk of developing colorectal cancer.