Blanching vegetables is necessary if you are not going to use them right away or if you want to freeze them. Never place uncooked vegetables in the freezer without preparing them first or they will not be good when you try to cook them.
In the photos below, I will show you how to blanch green beans fresh from our garden. Blanching produce is best done on the same day that you pick the vegetables for optimum freshness and flavor.
Pictured above are some garden fresh green beans that I picked from our garden in November of 2012, the day after Thanksgiving. I washed them, pulled the ends off, and snapped them into workable sized pieces. Now they are ready to be blanched.
You will need a large pan, a large bowl, a large metal mesh strainer with a handle, a pasta colander, quart-sized Ziploc freezer bags, a clock with a second hand or a timer, ice, and water.
Pull out a large pan and fill it about 3/4 full with water. Boil the water. Get a metal mesh strainer as shown below to easily move the vegetables from the boiling water to the ice water.
Once the water is boiling, place the mesh strainer that is full of vegetables in the boiling water and let them boil for the recommended amount of time.
Since I am blanching green beans, they get boiled for three minutes.
Remember, as soon as your timer goes off, lift the strainer and pour the vegetables directly into the icy water. Cooling the vegetables quickly is an important part of blanching vegetables.
Once the cook time is up, immediately remove the vegetables from the boiling water and pour them into ice water in a large bowl or large pan in your kitchen sink. Let them cool down for at least three to five minutes and then drain them into a pasta colander.
Let them cool for a few minute more in the colander.
Once the vegetables are cool, spoon them into Ziploc freezer bags. Store them in the freezer for up to six months.
To cook your blanched veggies, pull the bag of frozen vegetables out of your freezer, pour them out of the plastic bag into boiling water, bring to boil, turn heat down to medium and simmer for two to five minutes, depending on the type of vegetable and how soft you want it to be.
When blanching vegetables, the cook time varies. Below are boil times for some of the more common veggies. Most take just three minutes of boil time.
Beets, whole--45 minutes (just chop them up and do it for 3 minutes!)
Broccoli, cut up---3 minutes
Brussel Sprouts---4 minutes
Carrots, whole---5 minutes (chop them up and boil for 2 minutes)
Cauliflower, cut up---3 minutes
Corn on the cob---9 minutes
Corn removed from the cob---4 minutes
Green Beans---3 minutes
Lima Beans---3 minutes
Peas---1 and 1/2 minutes (90 seconds)
Squash, sliced, summer varieties---3 minutes
Tomatoes, whole---1 minute
Wax Beans---3 minutes
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