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Blanching Veggies, Fruits, & Nuts

by Benjamin Sauerborn
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Vegetables can be beautiful things. When they’re fresh they can be full of flavor with vibrant color, crispy, refreshing and best of all, healthy! But there’s always a flip side. Sogginess, tasteless, dull, and totally lacking in every essential nutrient. Thankfully there is a way to get perfect vibrant vegetables every time. By blanching.

Green beans

Blanching is an extremely easy cooking technique that involves submerging vegetables into boiling water anywhere between 2-5 mins (depending on the vegetables), then removing them from the boiling water and immediately submerging them in ice water to immediately halt the cooking process.  

Blanching sets the taste and color for a vegetable and prevents it from becoming soggy making it much more appealing to eat, and ideal for freezing, It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color, and texture. Blanching cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color and helps retard loss of vitamins. Here are some of the things that blanching does for veggies:

  • A perfect tender, crisp element perfect for salads!
  • Removes any bitter or ‘raw’ qualities a vegetable may have (green beans, tatsoi, etc.)
  • Removing bitter and strong flavors from things such as onions and cabbage.
  • Prepping veggies for dishes such as casseroles.
  • Peeling delicate fruits, vegetables, and nuts like tomatoes, peaches, and almonds.
  • Coring certain fruits like plums, peaches, and cherries.
  • Prepping fruit and veg before freezing!
  • Brightening up your greens making them more appealing and giving a dish more life. 

Chopped celery

To blanch any fruit or vegetables all you will need is:

  • A pot filled with water
  • Salt
  • An ice bath

    First salt your pot of water, place it on the stove and bring it to a boil. 

Salted boiling water for blanching

If you have particularly large vegetables (broccoli, carrots, potatoes) consider cutting them into uniform pieces. 

Once you have your water at a rolling boil, drop your prepared vegetables into the boiling water from 2-5 minutes, again, depending on the vegetable. If you’re blanching for peeling purposes i.e.peaches, or tomatoes, blanch them only for around 30 seconds to soften and loosen the skin. Nuts will normally only take a minute or so.

Celery in boiling water

After the instructed time has passed, remove the product from the boiling water and place them into the ice bath straight away and submerge them completely. 

Blanched celery in a bowl of ice water

Then toss it in a freezer bag it to freeze, eat on the spot, or prepare for any following dish.

Blanched celery ready to freeze

Here’s a list of common products to blanch and for how long: 

Vegetables:

Asparagus: 2-4 mins depending on stalk size

Beans – snap, green or wax: 3

Beans – Lima, butter, pinto: 2-4 depending on size

Broccoli – flowerets: 3 mins

Brussel Sprouts: 3-5 minutes depending on head size

Cabbage: 1 ½ min

Carrots – diced, striped or sliced: 2 mins 

Baby Carrots: 5 mins

Cauliflower – flowerets: 3 minutes 

Celery: 3 mins

Corn on the cob: 7-11 mins depending on cob size

Corn kernels: 4 mins

Eggplant: 4 mins

Greens – collard: 3 mins

Greens – other: 2

Okra: 3-5 mins depending on pod size

Onions: 3-7 mins, or until heated through

Peas: 1 ½ – 2 ½ minutes 

Sweet peppers – halves: 3 mins

Sweet peppers – Strips or rings: 2 mins

Potatoes – Irish: 3-5 mins

Soybeans: 5 mins

Summer squash: 3 mins

Turnips: 3 mins

Fruits:

Apples: 30-60 seconds

Cherries: 60 seconds

Peaches: 2-3 minutes

Pears: 30-45 seconds

Plums: 30 seconds

Nuts:

Almonds: 60 seconds

Pistachios: 2 mins

Brazil nuts: 1-2 mins

Peanuts: 3 mins

Hazelnuts: 3 mins

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