What is it: Blanching involves partially cooking whole vegetables in boiling water and then immersing them in cold water.
Why is it done: Blanching preserves the peak nutrition and crunch, and is a great way to store fresh veggies in your freezer for the off-season months. Blanching also removes the bitterness from certain vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and kale.
Use it: To prepare vegetables for salads, pasta and stir-frying, any preparation that is brief and requires the veggies to retain their crunch. It also makes it easier to remove peels and stops the loss of colour, flavour and texture.
How do I blanch: Bring three litres of water to boil for half a kg of veggies. The excess water ensures that the temperature is not brought down considerably when you add the vegetables or leafy greens. Preferably, add the vegetables whole (with stems and unpeeled), where possible, as chopping and peeling before blanching may lead to nutrient loss.
Add them to the boiling water. The water should resume boiling within a minute, if it does not, it means you’ve added too little water or too many veggies. Cover with a lid and let it boil for about a minute (cooking time can be less for leafy greens like spinach and depends on the vegetable you’re blanching). Remove the veggies with a wire basket and plunge them into cold water to stop them from cooking any further. Chef Gautam Mehrishi suggests you do so for about one to one and a half minutes to stop the veggies from cooking further. Drain and place these on a kitchen towel. Dab excess water from the veggies and use them in your salads, pasta, and stir-fries.
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