How to Blanch Vegetables &
When Blanching Vegetables is Necessary
Learning how to blanch vegetables is important for two main reasons: longer freshness and preparation for freezing.
Why Blanching Vegetables is Important
Green Beans 1st Step
Enzymes are necessary for plants because they cause them to grow. But after a plant is harvested, those previously beneficial enzymes continue to work their magic to the plants’ detriment. If left to their own devices, plant enzymes will quickly cause the plant to lose its color, flavor and texture.
The purpose of blanching vegetables is to slow the action of the enzymes for freezing or freshness:
- Freezing – it is often a necessary step prior to freezing your market-fresh or home grown veggies for longer-term storage (not over 6 months).
- Freshness - it will cause vegetables to keep their color, texture and flavor longer… a nice trick for leftovers such as salads. It’s also a good way to quickly cook vegetables without sacrificing texture, flavor and nutrition.
But not all veggies are right for blanching…
How to Blanch Vegetables
Proper blanching is specific to each vegetable, and it is not necessary for all vegetables (more on which in the next section).
Here is a high level overview of how to blanch vegetables:
- Add a little salt to a pot of water and bring to a boil.
- Prepare vegetables as described for each in the next section.
- Boil or steam veggies until they are tender but still crisp. The boiling time required is specific to each vegetable.
- Drain the vegetables.
- Fully submerge vegetables in cool water for the same amount of time that they were boiled or steamed.
- Drain again, and your fully blanched vegetables are ready to go.
Note that vegetables can either be steamed or boiled. While blanching time typically takes a little longer using steam, it may preserve more of the vitamins and nutrients.
Which Veggies to Blanch
The following vegetables are good for blanching. Click the links for more vegetable-specific blanching instructions (those without links are coming soon)…
- Beans (butter beans, green beans, lima beans, pinto beans, snap beans or wax beans)
- Brussel Sprouts
- Leafy Greens (beet, chard, collard, kale, mustard, spinach and turnip greens)
- Peas (black-eyed, field, green, snow and sugar snap peas)
- Peppers (bell peppers and sweet peppers)
- Summer squash
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