Blanching Cooking and Food Preservation Method

Blanching Cooking and Food Preservation Method

Today we shall therefore have an in-depth review of the blanching cooking and food preservation method.

This is a method of cooking food in which the food, which is usually a vegetable or fruit, is scalded in boiling water, for a brief time interval, and then finally shoved into iced water or cold running water to halt the cooking process.

Blanching of foods and vegetables helps to reduce the loss of valuable and quality nutrients over time.

The blanching cooking method is often used as a way of treating food right before it is frozen, dried, or canned. Heating of the vegetables or fruits helps

Why Blanch Food?

Food is blanched to add flavour, colour, and texture, and to preserve its nutritional value in it.

Blanching gently helps to soften the outside of the food while keeping the interior crisp, it sweetens the produce a little and also causes the vegetables to hold their colour for a longer period of time.

 Let’s take a look at the advantages of blanching cooking and food preservation methods next. 

Advantages of Blanching cooking and food preservation Method

There are quite a number of reasons available for you to consider adopting the blanching cooking and food preservation method to your daily kitchen activities.

  • Blanching helps to loosen the skin of tomatoes and peaches. This makes peeling thin skin layers easy and efficient as required in certain recipes.
  • Freezing vegetables, the second step in the blanching process,  slows down the natural enzymes in the vegetables that can cause loss of flavour, texture, and colour.
  • The Blanching cooking method cleans the surfaces of fruits and vegetables to remove dirt and microorganisms and can also reduce the bitterness of certain vegetables like Katunkuma, (a nutritious type of Ugandan eggplant), and leafy greens like Sukuma, cabbages and onions.
  • It brightens up the colour of certain vegetables, especially broccoli and other green veggies, and helps to slow the loss of nutrients. These will look delicious when served and displayed before your guests.
  • Long-cooked vegetables can be blanched before grilling, especially when used on kebabs along with quicker-cooking produce and meat.
  • Vegetables will be crisp-tender and bright in colour in salads and on a crudités platter.
  • Before incorporating into a quick-cooking recipe such as a stir-fry, blanching vegetables, helps to soften vegetables that take longer to cook like broccoli and carrots.

How to Blanch fruits and vegetables; methods?

There are three different ways to blanch fruits and vegetables: boiling, steaming, and microwaving. Let us have a look at each of the different methods of blanching cooking and food preservation method.

Boiling Method

The following steps will help you blanch your vegetables efficiently

  1. Place a large pot of salted water on a source of heat to boil.
  2. When it is boiling, immerse the vegetables or fruits in the boiling water. This will lower the temperature of the water for a few minutes.
  3. Immediately the water returns to a boil, begin timing for the length of blanching recommended, which is usually just a couple of minutes.
  4. Swiftly remove the vegetables or fruit items from the boiling water and plunge them into an ice-water bath.
  5. Instantly drain the fruit or vegetable once they are cool and set aside either to use in a recipe or to process for canning, drying, or freezing.

Steaming Method

  1. Pour an inch or two of water into a pot that will fit a steamer basket.
  2. Position a steamer basket inside a pot so that the basket is about 3 inches above the bottom of the pan.
  3. Heat the water and bring it to a boil and add the vegetables or fruits to the basket in a single layer.
  4. Put a lid on the pot to cover it tightly and continue to cook over high heat for as long as recommended. The time begins when the pot is covered. (Steaming will take about 1 1/2 times longer than boiling.)
  5. Move the fruits or vegetables to an ice bath immediately or run cold water.
  6. The instant they’re cool, drain the fruit or vegetable and set aside to use in a recipe or to process for canning, drying, or freezing.

Microwave Method

  1. Set the vegetables or fruit in a single layer in a microwave-safe dish.
  2. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to the dish.
  3. Cover and microwave on high for half of the recommended time, uncover and mix, and finish cooking.
  4. Mix again and immediately transfer to an ice bath.
  5. When they’re cool, drain the fruit or vegetable and set them aside to use in a recipe or to process for canning, drying, or freezing.

Tips for blanching cooking and food preservation Method

  • Shocking the food (ice bath) is one of the most important steps. This happens when you abruptly cease cooking and change the temperatures. This is what assures ideal texture and colour.
  • Adding salt to the blanching water contributes to the addition of flavour to the vegetables. When you add salt to the water, less of the foods’ sugars and salts leach into the water.
  • The time it takes the water to return to the boiling point should be within 1 minute, after adding the fruit or vegetable.
  • Cut a shallow X in the skin at the bottom of the tomato or peach to simplify the peeling process.
  • Plunge the food items into an ice-water bath immediately, to halt the cooking process and its effects. Ice water works best because it cools quickly, but if all you have is cold tap water, that will work fine too.
  • Leaving the food items in the ice bath for too long will turn them soggy, so remove them as soon as they are cooled down and drain and pat dry the fruits or vegetables completely. Drying the food thoroughly is important so it doesn’t turn soft and adds moisture to the recipe.

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