Whether you enjoy cooking at home or work as a professional cook, knowing how to blanch is an essential part of both European and American cooking techniques. Blanching is a process that calls for fruits or vegetables to be placed into boiling water, quickly removed and then immediately placed into a cold ice bath.
Blanching is a process that may be used to preserve the color or texture of foods, prepare ingredients ahead of time or prepare food for freezing. In order to effectively blanch foods to be used in stir fries, on salads or for freezing, make sure to keep in mind these three simple rules:
1. Blanch vegetables in a small pot of water at a rolling boil. This will make it much easier to return the water to a boil when adding new batches of vegetables.
2. To ensure all vegetables cook consistently, cook each type and color of vegetable separately.
3. Always shock your vegetables in ice water.
With those rules in mind, you are ready to effectively blanch vegetables. Here are detailed instructions to achieve the perfect blanch:
What you’ll need
- Slotted Spoon
- Small pot
First you will need to prepare your ice bath. Fill a large bowl with ice and water and let it rest so the ice cools down the water.
The next step is to bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat.
While the water is boiling, get started preparing your vegetables. Chop them into equal sizes so the heat from the water is distributed evenly. Make sure not to prepare the veggies too far in advance in order to prevent oxidation.
Next, begin adding the vegetables to the pot in small batches. Remember, separate your vegetables by type and color, since each type of vegetable will cook differently and you don’t want to compromise each vegetable’s unique color.
Make sure to test your vegetables every 30 seconds or so for doneness. The boiling process should typically take between two and five minutes, but cook times will vary depending on the vegetable.
Once the vegetables are done, remove them from the boiling water with the slotted spoon and immediately plunge them into the ice bath to stop them from cooking.
When the vegetables are completely cool, remove them from the ice bath and drain them on the towel-lined plate.
Repeat this process for each batch of vegetables.