A culinary technique in which food is plunged in boiling water for a brief moment then quickly removed. Often times the food is transferred to ice water to stop the cooking process. Blanching nuts, peaches, tomatoes, etc. allows for easy skin removal, decreases the bitterness of citrus zests, and gives certain vegetables a bright green color.
Why Blanch Vegetables?
Blanching destroys the enzymes in vegetables that makes them lose their flavor and more importantly their nutritional value. In other words, blanching gets rid of the things that make vegetables bland and boring and not as healthy as we’d wish them to be. Blanching green vegetables brings out their vibrant green color. Blanching vegetables with high water content or crisp vegetables, like broccoli, mean less time needed to stir fry or sauté them which means they will be ready sooner and absorb less oil. When trying to remove skin off of vegetables blanching is a great tool as it makes the skin easier to remove (ex. blanching tomatoes). Blanching vegetables is great for immediate consumptions but it is also great for preserving the vegetables for later use. Blanched vegetables can be placed in the refrigerator for use later in both cold dishes, like salads, and hot dishes as they are easily reheated. When saving vegetables for longer periods of time, such as freezing them, blanching them will help them maintain their nutritional value and make for easier reheating. That means you can have delicious asparagus during its growing season but in the middle of January as well! For you gardeners out there this is a great way to limit waste and help you enjoy the ‘fruits of your labor’ for months instead of weeks. For freezing, onions, pepper and herbs do not need blanching and squash, sweet potatoes and pumpkin should be completely cooked beforehand. Other than that, all other vegetables can and should be blanched before freezing. Blanching is a healthful, simple technique that will do wonders to your vegetables and your enjoyment of them!
Wash and clean vegetables.
(I used green beans for this demonstration)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil
(Just in case you didn’t know what boiling water looked like :P)
Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
I go with a relatively shallow bowl so it’s easier to get the items in and out
Add vegetable of choice in small amounts to boiling water.
You want to them in there till they’re just tender. To test just take one out and place it in ice water and taste it!
When ready, remove with a slotted spoon and place in ice bath to stop cooking. Remove immediately and drain.
Perfect! Do you see how bright green they are now!
Serving Suggestions (for veggies)
*Plain! They’re so yummy and blanching really brings out the flavor of the vegetable because they are just tender without being overcooked.
*Dressed- A mix of olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a little salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (if you like heat). Customize this dressing to your tastes, i.e. parmesan cheese, Tabasco® sauce, basil, or any number of ingredients
Now get out there and blanch some veggies.