During winter time we all have cravings for spring and summer vegetables. Most of us can get it from the groceries in the freezers, but some of us have a healthier option. I always want to cook something new and I use different veggies almost every day. My children love it and they never get bored of our meals.
The secret is in preparation for winter. During spring and summer, you can find many fresh and cheap veggies on the green market. But when winter comes, all you are left with is a bit of green veggies at enormous prices. In order to both save and live healthy, you can blanch veggies during the summer.
Blanching is an excellent way to cook veggies and at the same time keep the crunchy taste. It is a way of cooking something partially, by putting it into boiling water for a short period of time and then putting it in ice water to stop the process of cooking. Blanching can be done in many different ways, but what is crucial here is that it is very healthy and useful.
Reasons for blanching
– Blanching will cook your vegetables just enough, keeping them fresh and crispy.
– It will remove the bitter flavor of some veggies, including broccoli.
– Blanching preserves the color, texture, as well as the nutrient content of your vegetables.
– It destroys the enzymes that are responsible for turning vegetables brown and mushy over time or during cooking. In this way, you will always have the green color in your risotto with veggies meals.
– Blanching will easily soften the skin of tomatoes for peeling.
– Vegetables that are blanched can easily be used for salads, vegetable platters or dips.
Now I will show you how to blanch certain vegetables so that you preserve them fresh and crunchy, put them in the freezer and consume them all winter.
- 400g fresh green peas;
- 700g washed carrots; then peeled, chopped into medium thick rounds and washed again;
- 500g cauliflower, chopped into medium-sized pieces and washed well;
- 6tbsp salt.
After you’ve prepared the vegetables, put water to boil in a large utensil. Add 5-6 tablespoons of salt in the water and wait for the water to boil. Stir gently form time to time. It is best to blanch the vegetables one at a time, because their blanching time is different. Blanching time varies because of the hardiness of the vegetables.
First, we are going to blanch the green peas. After the water has come to boil, it is time to put the green peas inside. Blanch them for exactly one minute. After one minute has passed, put them aside and strain them out.
Then, put them immediately in ice cold water and leave them there until they are completely cooled. Now use the same water to blanch the other vegetables as well. While we wait for the water to come to boil again, we check on the green peas to see if they are cooled off. When they are cooled off, we transfer them into a plate.
Next, we will blanch the carrots. Carrots need to be blanched not longer than three minutes after the water has come to boil. Then, we repeat the same process as with the green peas.
Finally, we use the same water for the third vegetable – the cauliflower. After the water has come to boil, we will put the cauliflower in and blanch for exactly two minutes. We repeat the same procedure again.
If you are going to freeze the vegetables separately, use separate plates for them. If not, use the same plate to put them in when they are cooled. If you are putting them in the same plate, mix them well before packing. Then, pack them and they are ready to be put in the freezer. This is an excellent way to preserve fresh produce whenever you have it in abundance.
Tips for successful blanching:
– Time spent in boiling water and time spent in ice water should be roughly equal. If you are not using ice cold water, you can put them in a colander and run them under cold running water.
– Use a lot of water for boiling and cooling off. Use at least a gallon for each pound of food that you are blanching. This is quite important, because if you use too much water, the water’s temperature will be lowered and the cooking process will be slowed down, and that’s not your purpose because you will not get healthy produce in the end.
– Blanching can take up to a minute longer at high altitudes, as water boils at a lower temperature.
– As we mentioned above, the enzyme action that breaks vegetables down needs to be stopped. For that purpose, the food must reach 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
– If you wondered why we put salt inside the water, here is the answer. Adding salt or baking soda to the boiling water will help green vegetables become even greener.
– Do not put lemon juice or other acid in the boiling water because they can react with the chlorophyll and turn the green vegetable brown.