Yu Choy Flowers
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Yu choy is a leafy vegetable that produces tender fleshy stalks 20-30 cm high. Its greens range from light to dark green and have an elongated oval shape with lightly serrated margins. The small yellow flowers first appear as green buds in loosely compacted clusters of 10-20. They open to expose four bright yellow petals once the plant has about 7 or 8 mature leaves. Yu choy flowers offer little aroma but are mildly sweet on the palate and taste of baby spinach.
Yu choy flowers are available year-round
Yu choy is a flowering vegetable in the Brassica family that is also known as Green Choy Sum, Choisum, You Cai, Cai Hua, Yai Tsoi, Caisin, Flowering White Cabbage, Mock Pak-Choi or False Pak-Choi. It is botanically classified as Brassica rapa var. parachinensis. Yu choy flowers are bright yellow with petals that form a distinctive “cross” shape, a marker for all plants in the family. The flowering stage of most vegetables usually signifies that that plant has matured past its prime and has become bitter and fibrous, but not so with Yu choy. Since it grows at such a fast rate, by the time Yu choy bolts into flower production its leafy greens and tender stalks are still very young and succulent. Therefore, when compared to other cruciferous vegetables it is more common to see Yu choy in the markets with its yellow flowers intact.
Yu choy flowers are commonly found intact among the plant’s tender green stalks and leafy greens. They may be removed and eaten raw by themselves or mixed into salads but are typically left on the stalk and the entire plant is cooked whole. Yu choy may be stir-fried, steamed, blanched or added to soups. Complimentary flavors include garlic, lemon, chicken stock, soy sauce, ginger, mushrooms (especially shiitake), noodles, rice, tofu, snow peas, asparagus, carrots, celery, cashew, peanuts and sesame.
Yu choy is native to China and is one of the region’s most popular vegetables. It is a cool weather annual that flowers within 30-50 days of planting and can provide as many as three harvests in warmer climates with longer growing seasons. It is cultivated in Asian farming communities throughout the Western hemisphere where it readily adapts to similar climatic and soil conditions.
Recipes that include Yu Choy Flowers. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Steamy Kitchen||Chinese Greens (Yu Choy) Stir Fry|