Why You Should Learn To Blanch Vegetables
Ever wondered why you can't cook vegetables and have them come out as perfect as the ones you get in a good restaurant. Theirs are always crisp-tender and bright colored and perfectly seasoned, and yours come out kinda grey-green and mushy????
Well, here is the technique used by restaurants and chefs all over to get those wonderfully bright green or brightly colored vegetables that are still crisp-tender when you bite into them.
It's called BLANCHING. It's a quick boil followed by an ice bath.
Blanching vegetables is a cook ahead technique that's good for broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, green beans, and asparagus. Restaurants do this on a daily basis as they are setting up for their dinner or lunch service.
The vegetables that are going to be used are blanched, flash chilled, drained and set aside for further cooking. This is a technique that works especially well for the home cook.
If you are a working person and really don't feel like doing a whole lot of work to get a decent meal on the table when you get home, this technique will save you lots of time, effort and KEEP THE VITAMINS AND ENZYMES in your vegetables.
Here's the easy methodology.
Heat a large pot of cold water to a boil. Once it is boiling, throw in a handful of salt.
In a large bowl, fill with half ice and water.
Cut up the veggies while you wait for the water to boil. Carefully, add in vegetables and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, only until they're slightly cooked through and tender.
The vegetables will turn a very bright green.
To test, remove a green bean, piece of broccoli, etc. with a slotted spoon, dip it into the ice bath to cool, and eat it. If the vegetable is bright green and still crisp but just crunchy, then scoop out vegetables quickly and immediately move to the ice bath.
Keep them in the ice bath until they've cooled. Remove vegetables, drain well and set aside until ready to serve.
At this point you can put your blanched vegetables in a container and keep in the frige.
They will keep for three or four days and you can use some each day as you need.
To reheat, heat a little oil or butter in a saute pan. Add in vegetables, salt and pepper and other spices to taste. Continue over heat until vegetables are heated through. You don't want to do any more real cooking of the vegetables, you only want to get them nice and hot and for the seasonings to merge with the vegetables to add flavor.
For green beans, I like to saute them in a little tiny bit of olive oil and a tiny pat of butter and sprinkle on some Nature's Seasons, a seasoned salt. You could add a bit of minced garlic. Use whatever seasonings and spices your family likes.
Using this method, you can have bright green crisp-tender vegetables on your dinner plate that still retain their vitamins and nutrition, plus they taste amazing.
If you have a garden and you have more veggies than you can eat up before they go bad, use this method of blanching and then dry the veggies and spread them on a tray and put them in the freezer. Once they are frozen put them into a plastic bag or container to keep and use as you need them.