What is blanching?
Blanching is a commonly used culinary method. It involves dropping vegetables into boiling hot water for a short period of time, before immediately immersing them in cold water to stop the cooking process.
RELATED: Warm spring vegetables
Why do you blanch vegetables?
Not only does blanching shorten your cooking time, it destroys enzymes which can lead to deterioration in the colour and texture of veg when frozen. It also sanitises the surface from dirt and bacteria, seals in the vitamins and keeps the flavour fresh.
Blanching is an excellent way to help loosen the skin on tomatoes, peaches and almonds. In addition, some stock recipes – be it chicken or veal – require the bones to be blanched beforehand to rid them of impurities.
What’s the best way to blanch vegetables?
There are a few different methods you can use to blanch vegetables, with the most common relying on boiling water, steam or the microwave. However, blanching with boiling water is the most effective and efficient. Here’s how to do it:
1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil while you clean and cut up your vegetables.
2. Working in batches, carefully lower the prepped veg into the water. Cook for 30 seconds to a minute (or as per the chart below.)
3. Remove the vegetables from the boiling water via a strainer or slotted spoon.
4. Run them under very cold water or immerse in an ice bath until cool.
5. Using paper towel, pat the vegetables dry as thoroughly as possible and set aside to use as per your recipe or to process for canning or freezing.
Tip: Leaving produce in the ice bath for too long will cause it to be soggy. Be sure to drain the veggies completely as soon as they are cooled.
How long does it take?
Blanching time can vary depending on your purpose, produce and their size and shape. Here are a few recommendations:
Artichoke hearts - 6 minutes
Asparagus - 2 to 4 minutes, depending on stalk thickness
Beans - 3 minutes
Broccoli (cut into 1-inch pieces) - 2 minutes
Brussels sprouts - 3 to 5 minutes, depending on size
Carrots (whole) – 5 minutes
Carrots (diced or sliced) - 2 minutes
Cauliflower (cut into 1-inch pieces) - 3 minutes
Corn (kernels) – 1 minute
Corn (whole cob) – 4 minutes
Kohlrabi (cut into 1-inch pieces) - 1 minute
Leafy greens - 1 to 2 minutes
Peas in the pod - 2 to 3 minutes, depending on size
Peas (shelled) - 1.5 minutes
Squash - 3 minutes
Tomatoes – 30-60 seconds
What kinds of food can be blanched?