Chinese Cabbage (pe-tsai or won bok or nappa)
Description - A crucifer, related to cabbage and broccoli. The most common form of Chinese cabbage has a cylindrical tight head 4 inches thick and up to 18 inches long. Outer leaves are light green with a white midrib. The inner leaves are creamy yellow. Chinese mustard has a loose head or rosette of dark green leaves. The leaves are oblong or oval with shiny dark green blades and thick white petioles.
Culture - Both are cool season crops. A spring crop can be grown from transplants set out in early spring. For the fall crop, sow seed 60 to 80 days before frost date for Chinese cabbages and 50 to 60 days before frost for Chinese mustard. Well drained, fertile, moist soil promotes the desirable rapid tender growth.
Availability - Both are grown commercially in the Rio Grande Valley, and in the Houston and San Antonio areas for fall and winter harvest. Major supplies come into supermarkets from California, Florida and New Jersey. Highest quality is in fall and winter. Chinese mustard is less commonly available than Chinese cabbage in stores.
Selection - Clean, crisp leaves and firm heads with no browning or spots on leaves. Look into the center of the rosette to be sure it is free of decay.
Storage - Wash, place head in plastic bag and refrigerate. Optimum storage conditions are 32o F. and 95 percent relative humidity.