Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to blanch vegetables?

If you are tired of your vegetables loosing colour, texture, and flavour before you serve them, then blanching may be the solution. Prolonged exposure to heat deteriorates vegetables. Blanching lightly cooks only the outer layer of their flesh.

To blanch vegetables plunge them into boiling salted water for a short period of time, and then immediately stop the cooking process by placing the vegetables into ice water until they cool. Green beans and other fibrous vegetables retain their crispiness and colour. For other vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes and peaches, a brief blanching loosens the skin while keeping the flesh firm, making them easier to peel. In all cases the colour is set and the flavour is retained. You must remember not to overload the pot because this will increase the cooking time. Blanch in batches if necessary. The vegetables can be used immediately in salads and other cold dishes, or they can be stored or frozen for later use. A quick sauté or stir fry is all that is needed to finish cooking the vegetables, and if they are being added to a dish such as a soup or stew, adding them during the last few minutes of cooking will insure colourful results.


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