Everything You Need To Know About Blanching Your Vegetables
Don't undercook or overcook your veggies!
Have you ever come across the word "blanching"? Have you ever changed your mind about a recipe because of the word "blanch"?
Fret no more. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to blanch your vegetables.
However you might have a few more questions. The most important is probably this: How long should you have your vegetables in boiling water? After all, your goal is to cook it just enough, and not through and through. Timing is actually very important with blanching!
What is "blanching"?
Simply put, blanching is dropping veggies or seafood into boiling water, then quickly taking them out and shocking them in cold water. This method helps set the color and texture of veggies. The heat exposure kills the enzymatic activity in the vegetables so that it doesn't go limp or discolor during the next step of cooking.
How long should you blanch your vegetables?
The time each vegetable spends in the water depends on a prescribed amount of time which varies from vegetable to vegetable. Here is a list of common veggies to blanch:
- 1 to 2 minutes: leafy greens, and tomatoes (or until the skin splits open)
- 2 to 3 minutes: 1-inch cut broccoli and cauliflower, green beans, okra, and squash
- 3 to 5 minutes: cubed potatoes
- 4 minutes: eggplants
- 4 to 5 minutes: onions
- 5 minutes: carrots
When do you blanch veggies?
Since you have blanching down pat, here are more ways to use your blanched vegetables. You can use blanched veggies for salads, as the blanching process will remove the raw bitterness of the vegetable. It also makes sure the veggies are cooked through and beautiful in casseroles. It also helps mellow out the taste of onions. It helps preserve, and even brighten, green vegetables. It can also make peeling tomatoes, and certain nuts easier. It's also a good idea to do before frying potatoes.
Blanching is especially important when prepping your vegetables before freezing-a meal planning essential skill. The exposure to high heat will effectively kill enzymatic activity which would otherwise persist in the freezer and leave you with something rotten. However, it must be noted, that even with blanching, it's not advisable to freeze root vegetables.
You're all equipped and ready now! It's time to start practicing this new kitchen technique!