Gai Choy

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An Asian vegetable green that is used as a cooking green, a salad green, or as a pickled vegetable prepared in a brine or sugar solution. Typically classified as either mustard cabbage or bamboo mustard cabbage, Gai Choy is considered to be an Asian cabbage due to its appearance and taste, however it is not a true cabbage plant. When young each variety provides a very tender green with a subtle mustard flavor that increases in intensity as the plant matures. The ribbed stalks of the traditional mustard cabbage are broad, thick and somewhat curved, holding veined and ruffled leaves that are pale green in color. Stalks of the bamboo mustard cabbage are thinner in width and do not have the curved shape of the traditional mustard cabbage.

When young and tender, gai choy is used for salads, similar to cabbage salads, as steamed greens, or for stir-fried and baked dishes. Mature greens are often added to soups or stews. In addition to being referred to as mustard cabbage or bamboo mustard cabbage, gai choy is also known as gaai choy, Chinese mustard, Chinese mustard cabbage, oriental mustard, or Asian mustard greens.

When selecting, choose greens with firm nicely colored pale leaves that do not show stress, do not have yellowed areas, that are not limp in appearance, and that do not have holes in the leaves. For best flavor, keep the greens stored in a plastic bag, refrigerated for 4 to 6 days. To prepare, cut the leaves into pieces prior to washing. Place the greens into water and rinse thoroughly. A second washing may be best and then begin to prepare the greens for the food desired. To store, place greens in a plastic bag that allows some air to enter and refrigerate where they can kept for approximately 6 to 8 days.

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