Sunday, December 6, 2009

BLANCHING VEGETABLES

Blanching is a technique used to keep vegetables crisp and tender. It means to cook an item briefly in hot water in order to reserve it for later use. By blanching you can:

  • Preserve food by destroying bacteria that spoils food and enzymes that discolor food.
  • Store vegetables for freezing.
  • Save time by cleaning and blanching an item, then reheating it slowly when you are ready to use it.
  • Blanching can be used to loosen skins of vegetables that will be used for further cooking.

    Technique:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil over high heat, and add salt. If you are blanching green vegetables, make sure you add the salt. Salt will help to keep your vegetables green by keeping the water at an acid ph level.
  • Prepare an ice bath: fill a medium bowl to three-quarters with ice, then add enough cold water to come just to the top of the ice.
  • Clean and trim the vegetables to the size needed.
  • Add the vegetables to the boiling water and cook for two or three minutes, or until desired consistency is met. Add in small batches to ensure the water does not loose its boil.
  • As soon as the vegetables are done, remove them as fast as you can with a slotted spoon and submerge them in the ice bath.
  • Remove them from the ice bath as soon as they are no longer warm.
  • Reheat them in the desired cooking method. Be careful to just reheat. Do not cook them all over again.

Try it on broccoli, it really works, it will set the green color of the broccoli. You will have crisp, green, yet tender broccoli. Other vegetables you can try it on are: cauliflower, green beans and asparagus. Tomatoes and peaches can be cooked in this method in order to loosen their skins so that you can remove them easily. No need to waste time peeling pearl onions. Just trim off the ends and blanch the little onions. When they have cooled enough to handle, pull the skin and it will peel right off.

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