why do you blanch vegetables before freezing
Freezing is a great way to preserve fresh vegetables from a backyard garden or a local farmers' market when they are in season. And, by freezing vegetables that might not be available year round in the fresh produce section of your local supermarket, you'll be able to enjoy the flavor and health benefits of those vegetables all year round. But before you stash your favorite vegetables in the freezer, you'll need to know whether they should blanched first. To help you with that, you'll find below information about vegetables that need to be blanched, including a
chart listing the recommended blanching times for those vegetables, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to blanch fresh vegetables before freezing them. Why Should Vegetables Be Blanched Before Freezing? Blanching, or cooking vegetables in boiling water or steam for a set period of time, inhibits the action of enzymes that cause vegetables to develop off-flavors and lose color and nutrients when stored in the freezer for a longer period of time. This process also helps remove dirt and organisms on fresh produce. Blanching time is crucial because underblanching stimulates the action of enzymes, while overblanching causes vegetables to lose color, flavor and nutrients. Do All Vegetables Need to Be Blanched? Blanching is recommended for almost all vegetables, but there are also some vegetables that will stay good in the freezer even without blanching. Vegetables that do not need to be blanched before freezing include sweet and hot peppers, onions, and raw tomatoes. Also many fresh herbs, such as chives and dill, can be frozen successfully without blanching.
How Long Should Your Blanch Vegetables Before Freezing? The ideal blanching time for vegetables generally varies from 30 seconds to 10 minutes, depending on the size and texture of the food and the blanching method you are using (water vs steam blanching). For detailed information about how long it takes to blanch a specific vegetables before freezing, have a look at the Blanching Times Chart provided below. Note that the times indicated are for water-blanching (boiling); if you want to steam-blanch your vegetables, multiply the times by 1. 5. Please note that the following Blanching Times chart is intended as a general guide only the actual blanching times may differ due to a number of factors. In addition, the vegetables should be rinsed and/or peeled, as needed The times indicated are for water-blanching (boiling). For steam-blanching, multiply the times shown in the chart by 1. 5. Blanch trimmed, rinsed and cut vegetables for the time indicated in the Blanching Times Chart above. When the blanching time is up, quickly drain the vegetables. A that you can place over the top of the pot is great for this purpose, but you can also use a regular stainless steel colander. To stop any carryover cooking, plunge the vegetables into a large bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water, and let the vegetables chill in the ice-water bath for the same amount of time they were boiled or steamed. Drain thoroughly, and freeze using one of the two methods described below.
Method 1: Arrange the blanched vegetables in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with a or parchment paper, and put the sheet in the freezer. When the vegetables are frozen solid, transfer them to freezer-safe Ziploc bags or containers, and pop them back into the freezer for storage. The great thing about this method is that your blanched vegetables won't fuse together in the freezer, and you'll be able to grab just a few frozen pieces whenever you like. Method 2: Divide the blanched vegetables into portions that work for your needs. Then, package the portions in freezer bags, leaving as little air inside as possible. A vacuum sealer is perfect for this purpose, but you can also use a straw tucked in the corner of the bag to suck out the air! This method works well if you have a good idea of how you're going to use your frozen vegetables so you are able to divide the vegetables into portions that are just the right size. This is also the preferred method for freezing leafy green vegetables such as kale or collards. Blanching your veg is vital if you are going to successfully freeze them. It helps preserve them better, keeps in the nutrients and stop them going limp. Although the process of how to blanch vegetables before freezing is really simple and fairly quick to do you need to know how to blanch your vegetables before you freeze them and how long each type takes to get the best results. Boing them is the quickest and easiest and most successful method to use. PHere we cover the basics of blanching from boiling them to cooking them then getting them in that freezer.
PThere is also a list of blanching times you can use. You don t really need any special equipment although a blanching pan will help. Why Blanch Vegetables? When I first started growingPvegetables I wanted to grow enough to use over a longer period so I decided to get a freezer and to freeze them. I asked other gardeners on the allotment what they did. PMany said they didn t freeze as their veg came out soggy and limp. PNearly alwaysPthey had not blanched. PAnd although this added process takes time and effort the producePis then good for about a year in a good freezer. So this is why you should blanch your vegetable when youPintend to freeze them. You get better results and crisper veg. There is better retention of their original colour. And you keep more nutrients. PIt also destroys and surface bacteria. What Equipment Do You Need? When I blanch vegetables I tend to have a lot of one sort and as I have lots at any one time and they have different times I would not generally mix them. The best way to blanch vegetables for freezing is to use boiling water on the hob. For most things, it is basically the same just the timingsPare slightly different. PHowever,Psome things have a longer shelf life so may not need to be frozen. Some things are not as successful with freezing anyway so it might not be worth doing those. PIt is a personalPchoice. Prepare your vegetables by washing and cleaning them and topping and tailing them. Once you have cut off the ends you can choose to blanch now. I prefer to slice up my beans so I can see that they are OK inside (I grow virtually organically so am more prone to pests than sprayed things).
It s up to you. Blanch in boiling water for the allotted time (see our chart). If you want to use salt you can, I don t and have never had any problems however some say that also helps maintain the colour of your vegetables. Remove from the pan and plunge into icy cold water or place under cold running water until they are cold. This stops the vegetables from cooking further. Drain and shake off the excess water. Pat dry or leave to drain. If it is small veg like peas or beans or other cut up vegetables spread out on a tray. Ideally, you want a flexible tray as it will be easier to remove your vegetables from them once they are frozen. Place your tray in the freezer and allow your vegetables to freeze. (If you put them all together they will freeze into a group rather than individually). Once they have frozen you can place them in a suitable container or bag. Tip: When cutting your vegetables make sure you cut them about the same size so they blanch evenly. How Long ShouldPYou Blanch For? Blanching itself doesn tPtake long. However, the timing is vital or the blanching to work well. The table shows all the blanching times. Although for me personally some have a good storage time so I might just keep them and use them as needed. While you can blanch in the microwave one of the reasons you blanch is toPstop any enzymes from working. Becuase cooking in the microwave is different this may not work if you blanch in this way.
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