Monday, June 4, 2012


During the volunteer day on Saturday my coworker Nancy asked what I was doing that night. Perhaps the long week was catching up with me and I replied, “Blanch.” She inquired who my new friend was who I was hanging out with named Blanch. I laughed and replied that I was actually planning on spending the night in my kitchen, blanching the plethora of greens coming out of the farm this time of year. Blanching is probably my favorite form of food preservation because it is so fast and simple. Blanching is the step before freezing. It is not always necessary, depending on the vegetable, and how long you want to keep it.
“Blanching destroys enzymes that cause food spoilage. Don’t blanch chopped onions, green peppers, sliced mushrooms, sliced zucchini or fresh herbs [It’s just not necessary, they can simply be frozen…or dried]. It also isn’t necessary to blanch vegetables that are to be stored less than 3 months. For longer storage it’s not a matter of life or death, but color and texture will turn out better if you blanch…At first there’s no difference, but after 4 or 5 months, blanched foods are much nicer.

1.     Put vegetable in colander and sink into boiling water
2.     Leave in just long enough for water to return to a boil, then start counting. For kale, leave in 2 minutes, for collards, three. If it takes longer than 2 minutes for the water to return to a boil, you are trying to blanch too much at once. The exact time in the boiling water is not a science, you can leave them in there until they change color and become bright and vibrant.
3.     Lift out the colander and let drip a moment. Then immerse in a bowl of ice water.
4.     After a minute or two, immerse in a second bowl of ice water.
5.     When fully chilled, drain, pat dry, and place in a package for freezing (I use ziplock freezer bags).
6.     When you are ready for a taste of spring in the dead of winter, simply thaw and use for cooking like usual.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Country Living, Carla Emery, 9th Ed.

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