Blanching is a wonderful cooking technique that you can use to not only maintain the crunch of the vegetable but also retain its vibrant colour. The process includes giving a shock to the veggies by cooking them in boiling hot water for a few minutes and then quickly transferring them to ice-cold water, also known as ice bath. The process softens the veggies and also prevents vitamin loss by retaining the essential vitamins that might get lost during longer cooking periods. Blanched vegetables are best used to make stir-fries because of their signature crunchy texture. Here are five vegetables that you can try blanching at home.
Place a pot of water on high heat and let it come to a boil. Once a roaring boil comes, add the spinach leaves to the pot and let them boil for just 45 seconds. The maximum you can let the spinach boil is 60 seconds, but not more than that, as it will turn blackish in colour and might also limp. Now take out the spinach and dip it quickly into a bowl filled with cold water and ice cubes. Let them dip in the ice bowl for one minute. Lastly, drain all the water and gently squeeze the spinach between your hands to get rid of the water. Your blanched spinach is now ready to be used. You can store the rest in an airtight jar in the fridge for about 3 days.
Blanched tomato is ideally used to make tomato puree that can be used to make curries and pasta sauce. Firstly, take 3 tomatoes and make a criss-cross cut on the bottom. The cut should look like an ‘X’. Now boil water in a pan and once it comes to a boil, gently drop the tomatoes into the pot. Boil for one minute and transfer the tomatoes to the ice bath. Let them stay dipped in cold water for one minute. Now just take out the tomatoes and peel the skin. You will notice that the tomato skin will come off very easily. You can now blend the tomatoes in a blender to get a smooth tomato puree.
Want to store carrots for the off season? Blanching them is the easiest way to do so. Firstly, peel the carrots and chop them into small pieces. Boil water in a pot and add carrot pieces to it. Boil on high flame for exactly 3 minutes. Now drain the hot water and transfer the carrots immediately to an ice bath. Let them stay submerged in cold water for about 2 minutes. Now drain the water and spread the carrot pieces on a cotton cloth or towel. Let them dry completely. Once dried, transfer to a zip lock bag and place in the freezer.
Pea is another popular vegetable that people blanch and store for the off season. To blanch peas, boil water in a pot and add peas to it. Boil on high flame for 2-3 minutes. Once done, drain the water and dip the peas in a bowl filled with cold water and ice cubes. Let the peas stay soaked for another 3 minutes. Once done, drain the water and let the peas dry. This is a very important step because if you store the peas with moisture in them, they will develop fungus. Once the peas are dry, transfer to a zip-lock bag and store in the freezer.
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