Did someone just tell you to blanch a vegetable as a part of the recipe and you wondered what exactly it was that you need to do?
Well, wonder no more! We are here to walk you through the Blanching process and tell you what it is all about.
Recipes may ask you to blanch a vegetable or a specific ingredient without explicitly telling you how to do it.
Blanching is a process where an ingredient, usually a vegetable or a fruit is immersed in hot water (or sometimes, oil as well) to soften it or loosen the skin of it to make it easier to peel. Or sometimes, just to brighten the color of the fruit or vegetable.
The amount of time you need to immerse may depend on the vegetable or the fruit – or well, just on what the recipe asks you to. But, Blanching usually ranges from 30 seconds to a minute.
When to Blanch?
Blanching for a long time will turn certain green vegetables (asparagus, beans) turn to a dark olive color. 30 seconds of blanching may just turn the vegetable into a bright green color.
Vegetables like green beans are blanched to enhance their green color as well as soften them. Vegetables like Tomatoes will get more bright red by blanching and also make it easier for you to peel off the skin.
Blanching will also help you quickly cook vegetables over high heat – especially when you are trying to stir fry or saute them. This will prevent you from cooking for a longer time which may lead to the other ingredients getting burnt or over-cooked.
Blanching & Shocking is also a good way to serve vegetables used for salads. They’re softened just enough so that you can eat them more or less raw, but they won’t be excessively difficult to chew. And it also brightens the colors, making for a more visually appealing salad.
Blanching also helps loosen the skins on tomatoes etc which is helpful in using them for making Ketchup Sauces etc.
Blanching can also help perfect the cooking process of French Fries. Cut Potatoes are blanched in medium hot oil, then cooled before frying them again at a higher temperature. This will ensure that they are evenly cooked right through the center and also be crispy on the outside.
How to Blanch?
- Take a large pot of water. Add some salt to make the water salty – a little more salty than your tears.
- Bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, immerse the Tomatoes in the boiling water.
- The cold tomatoes will cause the boiling water to cool.
- Wait until the water starts boiling again and start timing the immersion. Check the table below for the different times for different ingredients.
- Once the time is up, quickly remove the food items from the boiling water and plunge them into ice-cold water.
- As soon as they cool, drain the vegetable or fruit and set aside for further use.