Crop Spot: Asian Greens

If you haven’t tried Asian greens, you’re in for a real treat. Asian greens, like bok choy and mizuna, are fresh, crisp and packed with flavor. They’re also  nutrient-dense and a great source of Vitamins A, C, and K. Most greens are eaten raw in salads and slaws, but Asian greens can also be sauteed, stir fried, and can even be pickled. 

To find Asian greens locally, check out the Find Farms & Food Database!

Bok Choy and ingredients for our Veggie Ramen recipe

Freezing and Storing Asian Greens 

Since Asian greens are highly perishable, it’s recommended to buy in small quantities. These greens can be stored up to a week in a paper bag in the crisper to ensure freshness. If you grow an excess amount of greens or can’t eat your greens in time, try this freezing method:

Note: In order to prevent your greens from getting mushy, avoid blanching the greens. A major goal in freezing is  to eliminate any excess moisture from the greens, so no need to blanch! 

  1. Remove any dirt using a paper towel. Do not rinse the greens. This will help ensure that the greens stay intact when they’re removed from the freezer. 
  2. Cut up the greens. 
  3. Put your greens in a freezer safe bag, and place on a baking tray placed in the freezer. Allow them to lay flat, freeze until frozen, about 2-3 hours. This prevents the greens from freezing to one another. It also makes it easier to remove parts of the greens if you’re using them all at once. 
  4. Keep for up to 6 months in the freezer. 

When removing them from the freezer they can be directly added to your dish – no need to thaw in advance.

Asian Greens Varieties

While Asian greens are often added to the same category, there is a huge variation of flavors and textures to try in this veggie world! Read up on some commonly found varieties in Michigan:

Chinese Cabbage

When you think of Asian Greens, one of the first things that comes to mind is Chinese Cabbage, also known as Napa Cabbage. Chinese cabbage is mild in flavor with a hint of sweetness. It offers a nice crisp texture, but when slow cooked the leaves are tender and juicy.  There are many ways to prepare Chinese cabbage, such as an addition in stir fry, for kimchi, and as a filling for dumplings. Try this dumpling recipe!

Bok Choy 

Bok choy has a crunchy texture with a slightly bitter flavor. This veggie can also be harvested earlier and sold as ‘baby bok choy ‘. This version offers a hint of sweetness not found in the more mature leaves. Bok choy makes an excellent addition to stir frys and ramen. It can be sauteed, steamed, or  roasted. We’d recommend our Veggie Ramen recipe, which incorporates a garlicky sauteed bok choy! 

Daikon Greens

Daikon greens are slightly spicy with a hint of bitterness. The leaves are both tender and crisp, and are used as garnish in cooking. They can always be served in salads, sauteed, and make a great addition to kimchi. Try this recipe: Sweet & Savory Daikon Radish Leaves

Fava Greens 

Fava greens are known for their sweet, buttery, and delicate flavor. They also contain a hint of earthiness, with a smooth and tender texture. These greens are often used in Asian cooking to wrap seafood before cooking. They can also be found in salads and pastas. Try this recipe: Sautéed Fava Greens Recipe

Mustard Greens

Mustard greens are quite pungent, peppery, and have a hint of bitterness. Fun fact: the seeds used to make mustard actually come from this plant. Mustard greens have feathery leaves that accompany a juicy stalk. The greens can be eaten raw in salads, but they’re also a great addition to stir fry, Japanese hot pot, and they can even be pickled.  Try this recipe: Steamed Mustard Greens with Balinese Sambal

Snow Pea Leaves 

Snow pea leaves are also commonly referred to as snow pea shoots or snow pea tips. These sweet leaves are loaded with bright flavor. They make for a perfect addition to salads, spring rolls, soups, or stir frys. They can also be steamed.  Try this recipe: Snow Pea Leaves Stir-Fry


Tatsoi greens offer a delicious bitter taste. These greens can be eaten raw in salads, but are also served in soups, and stir frys.  Try this recipe: Tatsoi Salad Recipe


Mizuna has a bitter peppery taste. The leaves of this green are feathery, attached to sturdy stalks. . This green is best served raw in salads and stir frys, but can also be sautéed.  Try this recipe: Mizuna Lettuce Salad

However you enjoy your greens, make sure to support a local farmer or food business when sourcing them! Find Michigan Asian greens on the Find Food and Farms Directory.

Further Reading: Veggie Ramen with Garlicky Sauteed Bok Choy.

Tara Snyder is the Digital Media Specialist with Taste the Local Difference.