Blanching is the process of scalding vegetables in boiling or steaming water for a short time. It is simple. Blanching helps retain the flavor, color, and texture of vegetables.
Cooking vegetables, even if only briefly, makes them much easier to digest. Many people experience gas, bloating, belly fat, yeast and fungal issues, IBS and other digestive disorders from raw vegetables. Blanching vegetables will improve digestive health which will improve many health conditions.
- Place water in a large pot and bring it to a rolling boil with a pinch of unrefined sea salt (less than 1/8th teaspoon; this helps the vegetables retain their flavor). Use a gallon of water per pound of vegetables, or approximately 2 cups of prepared vegetables. Or twice as much water as vegetables you intend to blanch.
- Clean and cut vegetables as needed and keep them separate. For example, you may be blanching green beans, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. Cook the green beans and scoop them out of the water, then add the carrots and do the same thing with each vegetable, cooking them separately from each other.
- Place vegetables in a wire basket or the perforated blancher insert and immerse in boiling water; or simply place the vegetables directly in the boiling water. The water should return to a boil quickly.
- Cover and start counting blanching time as soon as water returns to a boil. Time depends on size of vegetables.
- Keep on high heat for the time given in the directions. Remove from pan with tongs, a strainer, or slotted spoon. A properly blanched vegetable is brightly colored all the way through, when sliced with a knife.
- Cool immediately in cold or ice water for the same time used in blanching (corn-on-the-cob takes twice as long). Stir vegetables several times during cooling.
- Drain vegetables thoroughly.
If you have a steamer, you can use it but it will usually take 1-1/2 times longer than blanching the vegetables.
Blanch time depends on the vegetable and size. Over-blanching causes loss of flavor, color, vitamins, and minerals. A properly blanched vegetable is brightly colored all the way through, when sliced with a knife. The vegetables should taste crisp yet cooked. Green beans may take 2 minutes; carrots and broccoli, 15-60 seconds; cauliflower, 30-60 seconds; greens such as kale and collards, 3-4 minutes; brussel sprouts, 2 minutes; peas 1 ½ – 2 minutes; etc. Again, time depends how on how small you cut the vegetables. It’s better to undercook than overcook.
Place your cooked and cooled veggies over a bed or romaine or arugula with your favorite non-dairy salad dressing. Top with toasted sesame seeds, pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Or make a veggie platter with your favorite dips. My guests have liked blanched and cooled veggies better than raw ones. Keep them in the refrigerator and munch on them for a snack.
Quick homemade dressing: Combine 1 TB. wheat-free soy sauce or tamari; 1 TB. fresh lemon juice or vinegar; ½ TB. water and 1 tsp. finely grated ginger.
Quick dressing #2: combine 2 TB. cold pressed flax oil and 2 tsp. umeboshi vinegar
Miso Happy Salad Dressing (source unknown)
1/3 cup vinegar (or lemon juice)
2 TB Sweet White Miso
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp. raw honey (optional)
2-3 TB water
1/4 c fresh parsley, basil or chives
½-1 cup of sesame or light vegetable oil (it’s good without the oil too)
½ cp. Tahini ¼ cp. Lemon juice
¼ cp. Olive oil 1 clove garlic
2 TB. wheat-free soy sauce ¼ – ½ cup water
Blend all ingredients in a blender until creamy. Can be served warm or cold over vegetables, salads, tofu, or noodles.