How to Blanch Vegetables
A great solution for gardens at their peak and bulk buying produce.
Guest Post by CARE Nutrition Intern, Jacqui Gabel
Photography: Jacqui Gabel
Gardens fully producing, overbuying, or just overflowing with vegetables!
Tell me if this sounds familiar: I want to eat more vegetables daily, but I tend to buy more than I (or my family) can eat before they spoil, or I come home hungry and forgo adding enough veggies to dinner because I haven’t prepped them in advance.
Or, maybe this sounds more familiar right now? It’s August and my garden, and my friends’ gardens, and my local farmers’ gardens are all fully producing (what we wait for all year!) but I can’t keep up!
Blanch and freeze
What is Blanching:
Blanching means quick-scalding vegetables in boiling water, then shocking them in an ice bath to preserve texture, color, vitamins, and most importantly, flavor. Less than twenty minutes of prep time will make it easier to put together quicker dinners, like stir fries and soups, while also prolonging the shelf life of your produce.
How to Blanch Vegetables:
- Bring a big pot of water to a rolling boil (cover with lid to speed this up). Add salt and taste: your water should be like seawater.
- Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice and cold water. Set it next to the stove, along with a pair of tongs.
- Add vegetables to boiling water. Once water comes back up to a boil, start the clock. Most vegetables take between 2-4 minutes to blanch. See this website for a blanching time chart.
- With tongs, transfer vegetables to ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Drain and squeeze excess water from vegetables (I like to pat them dry with a clean towel).
- Portion and pack in freezer-safe plastic bags, and be sure to squeeze out as much air as possible to discourage freezer burn.
Blanched green beans, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cauliflower, beets, sugar snap peas, leafy greens – the possibilities are endless!
What do you think about this method? Have you tried it at home?