A method of partially cooking
ingredients in boiling water, blanching is usually done as a precursor to
some later preparation. Peaches, tomatoes and almonds are blanched in
preparation for peeling, broccoli, green beans, and cauliflower are
sometimes blanched to soften their fibers before baking, frying or
sautéing. Blanching is often used to heighten and set the color and flavor
of vegetables, usually before freezing or before serving in salads or as
To blanch, bring a pot of water to a boil.
Add the food to the water and boil about 30 seconds for most foods. Remove
the food from the pot and immediately plunge it into ice water to stop the
cooking process. Note that some vegetables, such as asparagus and
broccoli, can suffer in an ice water bath. To preserve their flavor and
texture, spread them out in a single layer and let them cool to room
temperature. If needed to blanch a large amount of food, blanch in
batches. Too much food will bring the boiling water to a halt and slow
cook rather than blanch the vegetables.
In order to blanch faster, use a pot with a
pasta insert, or use a steamer basket. This makes it much easier to
retrieve blanched ingredients from the boiling water and plunge them into
ice water to stop their cooking.
Fascinating Fact :
Blanching is also a horticultural term for a
labor-intensive technique in which the leaves of plants are not
permitted to photosynthesize and turn green, by growing them in
complete darkness. Belgian endive is grown in this manner.