How To Blanch Vegetables Like A Pro

Jul 13, 2015 at 1:44 pm |

I always say learn the techniques of cooking and you can make anything. Forgo the recipes and use your own skill. Blanching is an important technique. Ever wonder how nice restaurants get such perfectly cooked grilled asparagus that’s bright green but yours turns an army-green? How that carrot is perfectly seasoned all the way through? Blanching. And it’s super easy.

blanched vegetables

(Photo by Chewy Boese)

Blanching means boiling your vegetables and then “shocking” them — a culinary term for putting them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. From there you have cold, perfectly cooked veg that retains it’s vibrant color. All you need to do is heat it back up when you are ready by grilling or sautéing or eat it cold in salads.

Since blanching requires a lot of ice and extra time, it’s not something you need to do everyday for every vegetable. But if you want to impress your guests, then it’s definitely the way to go. Vegetables that do well with blanching: asparagus, peas, green beans, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, radish, broccoli rabe, snow peas, snap peas, kale, swiss chard, and more. You can even blanch tomatoes to get their skins off easier or garlic to take the bite out of it.

kosher salt

(Photo by / Flickr)

1. Fill a stock pot up 3/4 of the way with water and bring to a roiling boil.

2. You want to season it heavily with salt. For smaller veg, they will require less time cooking, therefore they need less time in the water. I use about two cups of kosher salt. The goal is to get it to taste like the sea. Trust me on this. If you are blanching something really dense and hard like baby carrots, use a lot less salt.

3. Don’t put all the vegetables in at once. You need to blanch them separately. Because of their size and density they will cook at different speeds. Also don’t cook two pounds of green beans at once. Putting a cold vegetable in a boiling pot of water will drop the water temperature and your vegetables will leak their color. So for something like green beans, I drop about two large fistfuls at a time and cook for a 90 seconds. Then repeat.

4. For green vegetables, you know they are done when they turn bright green. Leafy veg just needs a quick dip. The best way to tell if they are cooked to your liking is to fish one out and eat it.

spider cooking


5. Using a spider or tongs, remove your veggies from the pot and transfer to a large bowl of ice water with a colander in it. The more ice the better as the ice will melt once you put the hot veg. Let sit for a few minutes and stir occasionally. Just like it takes time for your vegetables to cook through, it takes time for them to chill through. So even if it feels cold on the outside of that carrots, the inside still might be piping hot. Drain well when cold.

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Learn how to make perfectly cooked and perfectly seasoned vegetables every time.