Simple question on blanching

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Simple question on blanching

Postby Stephen » Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:48 pm

When you blanch veg before freezing, does one start the timer at the point you put the beans (for example) into the boiling water or from when everything gets back to the boil?
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Re: Simple question on blanching

Postby Geoff » Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:42 pm

Back to the boil I believe.
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Re: Simple question on blanching

Postby Stephen » Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:37 am

OK, thanks Geoff.
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Re: Simple question on blanching

Postby Stravaig » Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:19 pm

Back to the boil. However, it's best to blanch the veggies in batches so as not to cool down the water too much and cause it to take a while to get back to the boil. If you follow that method, in practice there should be little difference between the time you put them in and the time the water hits the boil again.

With experience you probably won't need a timer anyway. You can just tell by looking when they're ready to come out and be "shocked" (put into a bowl of iced water).
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Re: Simple question on blanching

Postby Primrose » Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:40 pm

Yes, blanching time starts when the water comes to the boil. I blanch my beans and other veg for two minutes before draining.
If you have lots to do, one way of speeding up the process is to drain the water off into another saucepan, put that one straight back onto the hob and reuse the already hot water for a second batch. Saves a little water and also uses less gas or electricity reheating fresh water from cold.

I also dry my beans and then freeze them on an open tray first before storing in bags. Makes it so much easier to just grab a handful when yiu need them than a block of frozen ones all stuck together.
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Re: Simple question on blanching

Postby Stephen » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:22 pm

Thank you all.
I wonder why the instructions I found don't say "drop into boiling water, bring back to the boil and keep boiling for X minutes"?
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Re: Simple question on blanching

Postby Westi » Tue Jul 30, 2019 6:43 pm

I don't blanch - I wash, dry, prep & tray freeze to keep them apart when bagged. I read something, somewhere, that actually came out of a bit of a debate on a random USA forum I found & the no blanch made sense. It read to me that a) we have more modified crops that are not as tough so don't need the little head start, b) we don't use the harsh chemicals in our gardens, c) we mostly have fast freeze options in standard fridges so it is a bit like the famous peas method. Anyway I find it works for me. Veg looks fresh & green when cooked & I expect, but don't really care, that I may have some more water soluble vitamins left when I scoff them - runner beans have become a tradition for Xmas dinner in our family - unfortunately that is my contribution & they are pants this year thanks to birds & mice! Oops!
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Re: Simple question on blanching

Postby Monika » Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:26 pm

I do blanch the vegetables before freezing (except sliced courgettes) but I never do so in boiling water, but always in the steamer. They still blanch but they are staying much drier before being plunged into icy water.
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Re: Simple question on blanching

Postby robo » Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:58 pm

I've no idea on blanching vegetables but I can blanch lug worms for fishing perfectly
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Re: Simple question on blanching

Postby Primrose » Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:04 pm

Robo, I think some of us might prefer not to go there. Please don't tell us you store them in your fridge beforehand!
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Re: Simple question on blanching

Postby Stravaig » Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:40 pm

Primrose wrote:If you have lots to do, one way of speeding up the process is to drain the water off into another saucepan, put that one straight back onto the hob and reuse the already hot water for a second batch. Saves a little water and also uses less gas or electricity reheating fresh water from cold.


An even quicker way is to use a "spider" to fish out the blanched veggies and leave the boiling water in situ in the pot for the next batch. (A spider in this context is a cooking utensil - like a flattish sieve.)

I've also tried freezing veg without blanching - you freeze the veg individually on a baking tray, or similar, then bag up once frozen. It works. But really it's not as good as blanching first. Not in my experience anyway. Blanching inactivates the enzymes in the veg which lead to its deterioration after picking. It also helps to promote and preserve a good colour. If I'm in a hurry sometimes I don't blanch things but otherwise I'd always recommend it. It just makes for a better end product. Try it yourself and see with the two different methods of the same batch of veggies. I'd be surprised if you don't prefer the blanched version.
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Re: Simple question on blanching

Postby Stephen » Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:35 pm

Monika,
If blanching in a steamer, do you keep the same timing or add a percentage?
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Re: Simple question on blanching

Postby Monika » Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:07 pm

I use the same time, Stephen, but shake the steamer every so often so that the veggies are evenly blanched. I also sometimes pour boiling water through the vegetables first, just to heat them up a bit beforehand.
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