Vibrant Blanched Veggies

Blanching is just a fancy word meaning boiling stuff in water. Sounds unglamorous, right? Yeah, that’s why we call it “blanching.”

All snarkery aside, blanching is quite an underappreciated art. You may think boiling water sucks all the life out of food. But it doesn’t—if you do it right. Blanching invigorates vegetables, boosting its natural color, fragrance and sweetness in a way that other cooking methods obscure.

Not all veggies are ideal for blanching, but quite a few are:

  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • carrots
  • green beans
  • sugar snap peas, snow peas, or just regular peas (unfrozen)

Because blanching is such a straightforward cooking technique, you can’t get away with using weak produce. You need stuff that’s perky, vibrant and ultra-fresh. If you have a farmer’s market, now your chance to splurge on that slightly-too-expensive bunch of local asparagus. There are worst things you can spend $4 on.

Ready? Let’s blanch!

Tools Needed:

  • medium pot with lid
  • large mixing bowl
  • tongs, strainer, or slotted spoon)

Ingredients Needed:

  • blanch-able vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, snap peas, snow peas, or fresh (unfrozen) peas 1 pound
  • salt to taste

Lesson Gallery... Yum yum.

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  • Huge win, if I do say so myself – used the leftover wheat berries from lunch and added my blanched asparagus and blanched corn, plus some golden raisins, goat cheese feta, and toasted walnuts. Voila!

  • Haha yes, you’ve discovered one of the downsides of blanching, but also one of the reasons it’s great for spring/summer cooking. Cold foods can be nice, too, and sometimes things taste really different cold. You get 2 points: +1 for doing the mission, and +1 for creativity. Woohoo!

  • Nice one, h! I like that you bravely combined 3 different veg and they all turned out to have the same blanching time :) You get 2 points: +1 for completing the mission, and +1 for creativity!

  • Hi again piepants! You get 3 points: +1 for doing the mission, +1 for creativity, and +1 for making me chuckle. Nettles really are quite fuzzy, but not so cuddly, unfortunately. :)

  • That’s some nice-looking asparagus, Nika! You get 2 points: +1 for completing the mission, and +1 for helpfulness (thanks for your comment about the cold water dunk—yes, it totally does make a difference!).

  • Hi Cecilia! Those carrots look amazing. You get a total of 3 points: +1 for completing the Mission, +1 for creativity (nice job combining 2 Missions!), and +1 for helpfulness (thanks for your tip about 4 minutes).

  • I’m a bit disappointed that blanching resulted in cold veggies. But once I got over the temperature, I was surprised at how delightfully good this turned out. We dressed up our broccoli with caramelized onions, garlic, a light drizzling of hazelnut oil, and some salt/pepper for some basic pep. Turned out to be a nice sweet accent to our super spicy hamburgers.

  • My broccoli, cauliflower, and baby carrots were a success! After blanching them for just a bit longer than 4 minutes, I added some olive oil, garlic powder, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, lemon juice, and lots of grated parmesan.

  • This is blanched singing nettles, served with truffle mayo (the spoils of a previous mission).

    Like fuzzy, difficult-to-manage spinach! My guest was intrigued and mystified.

  • Easy, fast and good. I had always skipped the step where you dunk the veggies in cold water after boiling, but it does make a difference. I will try again soon with different veggies.

  • I tossed my sweet, colorful blanched carrots with a quick vinaigrette and they made for an awesome, healthy, fast side dish. Lessons learned for next time: cook them for less time (after 4 mins they were on the soft side) and make a bigger portion!

  • Nice one, Dan! Welcome to Scratch House and ccongrats on your first completed mission. You got 2 points: +1 for being the first (my entry doesn’t count :P) and +1 for doing the mission. The asparagus looks beautiful and perfect for springtime!

  • Great! Not too firm, not too soft, and the olive oil really rounded out the flavor. A lot less bitter than asparagus I’ve had before.

  • Made blanched broccoli for dinner and served it with some pasta and garlicky aioli. 7-8 minutes in boiling water results in tender, almost creamy-textured broccoli. I shaved the fibrousy outer parts off the broccoli stems and they turned out to be the best part. Bonus: I’m saving the broccoli blanching water to make cauliflower soup tomorrow night. It was such a lovely deep green color that we couldn’t throw it away…