Someone at work the other day asked me what the cooking term blanching is so I thought it might make a good start to How-To Tuesdays here on the ‘ol blog. Blanching is a simple cooking technique that helps to preserve the vibrant color and crisp texture of some fresh fruits and vegetables. When you blanch something you place it into boiling water for a specified amount of time and then plunge it into an iced water bath to stop the cooking process.
If you can boil a pot of water, you’re halfway done!
We are knee deep in green beans this time of year. One of the most efficient ways to store green beans for later enjoyment is to freeze them. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, it’s necessary to blanch green beans because it stops enzyme actions which can cause a loss of flavor, color, and texture. Further, it cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color, and helps to prevent loss of vitamins.
So, there you go. Blanching 101.
There’s nothing better than freshly picked green beans and it’s so easy to preserve the fresh-picked flavor.
Bring a pot of water to the boil and place the beans in for 3 minutes. Remove them immediately and place in an iced water bath. Finally, drain of excess water and place in plastic freezer bags. I use a vacuum sealer and if you’ve never tried one, I can definitely recommend the FoodSaver system. Depending on what you’re blanching, the time may vary. Here’s a handy list of recommended times.
- 3 quarts water (plus additional water and ice for iced water bath)
- 1 pound fresh green beans, washed and ends trimmed
- Bring water to boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
- Add the green beans, return to boil, and cook until beans are bright green and crisp-tender, 3 minutes.
- Transfer beans immediately to the bowl of ice water. When beans no longer feel warm to touch, drain in colander again and dry thoroughly with paper towels.
- Freeze beans as desired.