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That Makes Me Blanch

Not this Blanche…

Rue McClanahan as Golden Girls’ Blanche Devereaux

Or this one…

Viven Leigh as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire

 Like this!

[source]

I’ve shared my master technique with you before… that is, my totally made up, real-chefs-would-cringe-at-the-sight, shortcut to keeping ready-to-eat vegetables in the house. Blanching is another good option, especially for vegetables that taste good raw, but are too hard to digest in their completely uncooked state.

If you blanch veggies, you can use them in salads just like the raw versions, or use them in other cooked dishes like casseroles, omelets, and sautés. They last days and days in the fridge and are at least halfway to dinner-ready.

Directions to Blanch Your Favorite Veggie
1. Fill a large pot with water, add some sea salt (1 tablespoon or so), and bring it to a rolling boil. You need enough water in the pan that the boil will continue after you add the raw veggies. Keep that roiling boil going!

2. Drop in the raw veggies and set a timer; see list below.

3. When the time is up, drain the veggies and run them under cold water to stop the cooking.

4. Congratulations! You’re blanched. You might, should the mood strike, say in a very dramatic voice with a wistful expression on your face, “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers”

Veggie Blanching Time
Asparagus: 3 minutes
Broccoli, chopped or stalks: 3 minutes
Brussels Sprouts: 3-5 minutes, depending on size
Carrots,diced or strips: 2 minutes
Cauliflower: 3 minutes
Green Beans: 3 minutes
Greens like spinach, 2 minutes
Snow or Sugar Snap Peas: 2-3 minutes
Summer Squash, slices or chunks: 3 minutes

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8 Responses to “That Makes Me Blanch”

  1. Trixie says:

    Good stuff, I always wondered about blanching. How is it different from steaming a veggie then putting it under cold water? I ask, because I have a steamer pot. Maybe I could just cook the veggies for a shorter time then normal and then put them under cold water. What do you think?

  2. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hey, Trixie. The primary difference between steaming and blanching is that steaming is a COOKING method and blanching is used to make the vegetables "not raw" but not totally cooked, either.

    Blanching in salted water helps vegetables retain their color much better than with steaming, which is nice if you want to use them for salads or crudite platters. And the texture is closer to raw, too.

    There is a difference between steaming (vegetables cooked with hot water vapor) and blanching (vegetables submerged in continuously boiling water) so the method that is best depends on what you want to do with the veggies after they've been in the pot.

    Hope this helps!

  3. Brandy says:

    Is this a good method for preparing veggies to be frozen? My family has been purchasing veggies at the farmers market, but we’re finding that many are going bad before we can get to them.

  4. Eileen says:

    Hmmm, rereading the complicated directions for blanching *eye roll*…… Once you release the raw veggies into the boiling water do you turn off the heat??

  5. Julie says:

    Downloaded e-version of It Starts with Food. Couldn’t put it down, well I to when the battery died,but my point is…I want in! I’m anxious, I’m amazed, I’m scared…but I’m psyched. It all just just makes sense to me. And it disturbs me because it seems like such a no brainer…if the packaged junk would stopped being produced. I have always thought why do Twinkies exist..they have zero redeeming value. Why are we allowing companies to produce things that are so obviously not good for anyone!!!
    Is your cookbook available in electronic form????

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