How To Properly Blanch Vegetables

How To Properly Blanch Vegetables
If you plan on freezing vegetables, then it’s a good idea to blanch vegetables.

Blanching destroys enzymes that cause vegetables to rot. It will also help to keep them fresher looking and tasting. It tends to brighten the color of vegetables, cleanses the surface and also helps to slow down the loss of vitamins.

If you do not blanch before freezing, the enzymes will continue to be active during the freezing stage causing a change in colors, flavors and textures.

How To Blanch Vegetables

Directions:
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt until the water tastes a little salty.
  2. Fill a medium bowl 3/4 of the way full with ice, then add enough cold water to come just to the top of the ice.
  3. Trim the vegetables and add them to the boiling water in batches — make sure the batches are small enough so that the water doesn’t lose it’s boil.
  4. Boil until the vegetables are slightly cooked through but tender (refer to cooking times below).
  5. Remove the vegetables from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and submerge them in the ice bath.
  6. Remove the vegetables from the ice bath with a slotted spoon once they are no longer warm.
  7. Drain thoroughly and freeze.

Blanched vegetables can be used immediately or they can be stored in the freezer and kept frozen until later use. When reheating them, feel free to use any method you like but be mindful of the cook time. Since the vegetables were already “cooked” once, you only need to heat them a tiny bit.

It is important to note that blanching time is very crucial to the whole process because it varies depending on the vegetable and the size of the pieces. There is a fine line between under-blanching (this will speed up the activity of the enzymes) and over-blanching (this will cause the vegetable to lose flavor, color and vitamins).

Blanching Times:

  • Artichoke:
    • Globe (hearts): 7 minutes
    • Jerusalem: 3-5 minutes
  • Asparagus:
    • Small stalk: 2 minutes
    • Medium stalk: 3 minutes
    • Large stalk: 4 minutes
  • Bamboo Shoots: 7-13 minutes
  • Beans:
    • Snap: 3 minutes
    • Green: 3 minutes
    • Sprouts: 4-6 minutes
    • Wax: 3 minutes
    • Lima, Butter, Pinto
      • Small: 2 minutes
      • Medium: 3 minutes
      • Large: 4 minutes
  • Beets: Cook
  • Broccoli:
    • Flowerets: 3 minutes
    • Steamed: 5 minutes
  • Brussel Sprouts:
    • Small Heads: 3 minutes
    • Medium Heads: 4 minutes
    • Large Heads: 5 minutes
  • Cabbage or Chinese Cabbage:
    • Shredded: 1.5 minutes
  • Carrots:
    • Small: 5 minutes
    • Diced, sliced or lengthwise strips: 2 minutes
  • Cauliflower: 3 minutes
  • Celery: 3 minutes
  • Chard: 2.5 minutes
  • Corn:
    • Corn-on-the-cob: 7 minutes
    • Small Ears: 9 minutes
    • Large Ears: 11 minutes
    • Whole Kernel or Cream-Style: 4 minutes
  • Eggplant: 4 minutes
  • Greens:
    • Collard: 3 minutes
    • All Other: 2 minutes
  • Kale: 2.5 minutes
  • Mushrooms:
    • Whole: 5 minutes
    • Buttons or Quarters: 3.5 minutes
    • Slices: 3 minutes
  • Mustard Greens: 2.5 minutes
  • Okra:
    • Small Pods: 3 minutes
    • Large Pods: 4 minutes
  • Onions: 3-7 minutes (or until center is heated)
  • Peas:
    • Edible Pod: 1.5-3 minutes
    • Field (Blackeye): 2 minutes
    • Green: 1.5 minutes
  • Peppers (Sweet):
    • Halves: 3 minutes
    • Strips or Rings: 2 minutes
  • Potatoes (Irish): 3-5 minutes
  • Pumpkin: cook
  • Rutabagas: 3 minutes
  • Soybeans (Green): 5 minutes
  • Spinach: 2.5 minutes
  • Squash:
    • Chayote: 2 minutes
    • Summer: 3 minutes
    • Winter: cook
  • Sweet Potatoes: cook
  • Turnips or Parsnips (cubes): 2 minutes

What types of vegetables do you usually blanch and freeze to use at a later time?

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