Blanching Vegetables

Article by: Allrecipes  |  Picture by: SunnyByrd
Blanching Vegetables
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Blanching allows you to partially cook vegetables and cool them quickly so they retain their crunch. Blanched vegetables are great for salads, pasta dishes and as finger food with dips.

Prepare a pot of salted, boiling water and an ice bath (a bowl full of ice and water). The salt will permeate the outer walls of the vegetable being blanched and enhance the flavours. If you would rather not use salt, plain boiling water is fine.
Place your vegetables a few at a time into the boiling water, being careful not to crowd them. Keep the water at a consistent boil. Test the vegetables f after a minute or so; green beans should be crisp, yet cooked. To test larger vegetables like broccoli, insert a small sharp knife into the thick part of the stem. If the broccoli clings to the knife, it needs more time. If the knife slides in and out easily, the broccoli is ready to be shocked in the ice bath.
Once the veggies are cooked to your liking quickly remove them from the boiling water and plunge them into the ice bath (this act is called "shocking"). Immersing the vegetables in ice water will halt the cooking process completely.
Keep the vegetables in the ice water long enough for them to cool completely, then drain them well. If you remove the vegetables from the ice bath before they finish cooling, they will continue to cook from the inside out resulting in a mushy finished product.
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