Recipes sometimes call for blanching a vegetable. So what is blanching exactly? Blanching is when you add the vegetable to boiling water, cook for a few minutes, and then remove the vegetables and add to an ice water bath to stop the cooking of the vegetable immediately. We are essentially par cooking the vegetable. Many vegetables can be blanched to use in salads or cold dishes like a pasta salad.
The blanching process cooks the vegetable enough to remove the raw texture and flavor. The vegetables become a bit more tender and bright in color. This method is perfect for adding veggies to cold dishes such as pasta salads, salads or cold side dishes like my Simple Green Bean Tomato Salad.
Step by step blanching process
For this tutorial, we are going to blanch green beans.
- Start by heating water in a pot large enough for the quantity of beans. For 12 ounces of beans, use a 3 qt pot. Add a good pinch of Kosher salt and bring to a boil.
- While the water comes to a boil, check green beans to ensure they are trimmed. I used cleaned, pre-trimmed green beans, but if you buy loose green beans, trim them as needed.
- Get a bowl with ice and water ready to place green beans immediately after.
- Once the water is boiling, add the green beans and cook for 3 minutes. For a larger quantity, you may need 1-2 more minutes of cooking time.
- Remove the green beans only from hot water with a slotted spoon and place in bowl with ice water.
- Allow to cool in the ice bath for a few minutes.
- Drain the green beans well, pat dry.
- Now they are ready to use in your favorite salad or cold side dish recipe.
What other kinds of vegetables can I blanch?
- Green beans
- Snow peas
Clearly each vegetable requires a different time. Carrots and broccoli take a bit longer than green beans or snow peas. Zucchini and peas are probably the most tender and blanch quickly. For times, check out Food52’s time table for different vegetables here.