Are you wondering how to pick your Cai Xin (or any other leafy vegetables)? Did you purchase a bag of Cai Xin and find little holes on the leaves upon opening them?  We’ve regularly been fielding general questions regarding choosing vegetables and holes and we thought we’d answer these questions and put your worries to rest once and for all.

Reasons for Holes in Your Veggies

We are sure that when you were little your parents have told you to avoid leafy vegetables with holes in them. And all these years of picking them out before cooking them, or throwing them our from your plate of veggies, you have learnt to start avoiding buying them altogether. In fact, we’ve asked around and the general misconception of having holes in your leaves is that the vegetable is rotten.

Having holes in your vegetables does not mean that it is rotten. 

We cannot stress this enough – finding holes in your vegetables is not uncommon. In fact, you should be wary of fruits and vegetables that look too perfect. Yes, holes means some pests may have gotten to your plants before you. But that also means that the farmers did not use chemicals and pesticides to keep them away.

(See also: Same Old Brand New Crops)

One of the more popular leafy greens in Singapore, the Cai Xin grows well and easily under tropical weather conditions. However, precisely because of this similar conditions, there are always a lot of pests that attack the leaves. As such, most farmers use chemicals to ward off pests and to enhance their growth.  These chemicals are consumed when you eat the vegetables and are toxic to your body.

“Vegetables with holes are much safer for us to consume rather than the beautiful ones.” – Peachpurple

Choosing the Cai Xin

We found the following points on how to choose mustard greens and Cai Xin on PeachPurple and we thought they were on point:

  • When buying Mustard Greens aka “Cai xin”, choose those leaves that are not too big and they should be in attractive dark green color.
  • Avoid those yellow and whites spots which may be insects drops or “sick” leaves. Big leaves are hard to chew and might cause indigestion.
  • In addition, do not buy pale green yellowish leaves and soft bending stems as these vegetables had been left on the shelf for a long time; not fresh anymore and losing the nutrients.
  • Discreetly, try piercing the base of the stem with your finger nails. If you can pierce it easily, this means the vegetable is tender, fresh and contains water. If the base is hard or dry, this means the vegetable is old.
  • Cai xin are usually sold in a bunch, a few stalks of leaves tied together. A bunch of Cai xin is enough for 2-3 person meal.

Armed with this knowledge, you can now go to the supermarket and choose your Cai xins like a pro!

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