I had a question posed to me, weirdly on another blog, about harvesting Chinese cabbage that hasn't headed. Sometimes a head won't form before it bolts (like two of the three Michihilis this spring). I find it common for Michihilis to not form heads in the spring. Their heads are much more reliable in the fall. Occasionally Napas won't, but they are better than Michihilis and again, it is easier in the fall. But you don't need a head to have the cabbage edible. It is nice and sweet if it was blanched at all and even the dark green more prickly parts are good in soups. I'm guessing they are even better for you than the blanched parts. All edible and all tasty.
So you can eat more of that head than is traditional. I do tend to toss out the outermost leaves. But on the Michihili head above you can see I kept some of the dark green parts there. And I cut some off in the middle as the bottom was blanched and the top not so much. I also kept a lot of the larger more outer leaves which you see above. They were blanched (the boiling type of blanching this time) and frozen for winter soups. They will be perfect for that. And will have lots of flavor. That wonderful mustard flavor really tends to come out when a cabbage is bolting. If you are like me, that is a good thing. So I never regret my bolting Chinese cabbages. I celebrate them.
Though just to be clear I am keeping those nice heads too. Those are great because they store so long. I've wrapped them in towels in plastic bags in the fridge. Chinese cabbage can last up to about two months in the fridge. I've had some last longer. But better to eat them faster.