If you have ever grabbed a bag of frozen vegetables such as the combo of corn, green peas, and carrots or mixed vegetables, you’ll notice that the vegetables are usually a bright color. You might also notice that these vegetables commonly need only a few minutes to cook after thawing.
This is because these vegetables have likely been blanched before being frozen.
Blanching is the cooking process of quickly cooking vegetables in boiling water. This is usually done for as short a time as 10 seconds to up to 11 minutes for bigger and hardier vegetables such as large corn cobs. This cooking method is not meant to cook the vegetables. In fact, one of the best reasons to learn how to blanch vegetables is to preserve them.
Here are three good reasons to blanch vegetables:
1 Blanching cleanses the surface of the vegetable of dirt and organisms.
If you think washing your vegetables under running water is not enough to rid them of deep-seated dirt and undesirable hidden creatures, then you should blanch your vegetables instead to clean them more properly. The boiling water is hot enough to release dirt and kill insects before storing.
2 Blanching brightens its natural color and preserves much of its vitamin content.
Another great reason to blanch before storing is to make these look and taste better. That’s because blanching locks in the color, its taste, and even prevents further loss of its natural nutrients that long-term storage can result in.
3 Blanching means easy storage.
Not only does blanching make your vegetables better but it also makes them easier to store. These are already easier to store since you’ve cut them into more uniform sizes but the short time in the boiling water may wilt and even soften the vegetables just enough to make it easier to store.
Are you convinced that blanching is a cook’s secret cooking process to preserving food longer? If you are, here is the step-by-step process plus tips on how to blanch vegetables properly:
- 1 Prepare vegetables as desired in similarly sized pieces.
- 2 Bring a large pot of water, lightly salted, to a rolling boil over high heat.
- 3 Lower heat to a gentle boil.
- 4 Prepare an ice bath or a bowl full of ice in water. Place this beside the stove for easy access while you blanch.
- 5 Working in batches, add vegetables to the pot of the simmering water. Let the vegetables cook in gently boiling water until the color has brightened.
- 6 Use a strainer or slotted spoon to easily fish out the blanched vegetables out of the water. and straight into the ice bath you have prepared. Add more ice as needed.
- 7 Remove the vegetables from the ice water when completely cooled. Transfer to storage containers and freeze or store as desired.
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