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Blanching Your Vegetable Harvest
I was reading an excellent article the other day by fellow vegetable gardening enthusiast,
Gardening Jones. The article titled, Blanching Veggies was about blanching the peas
from her harvest.
This got me thinking about the basics of the blanching process in general. What is
blanching? How do you blanch? Is it worth it? Those sorts of questions. In that same
article above, there is a link to an excellent piece of information about blanch times for
specific vegetables, titled Freezing the Harvest. Be sure to bookmark this link as it will
come in handy, once you read below of the importance blanching plays with your own
So first, let’s start with understanding what blanching is. Blanching is the process by
which you plunge your fruits,nuts,vegetables, etc. into boiling water for a short amount of
time, then remove it and immediately plunge them into an ice water bath stopping the
cooking process in its tracks.
It is a very simple process but you may be asking, why you would want to do this. While
many blanching professionals have their own reasons, there are a few popular ones that
relate directly to us home vegetable gardeners.
As you may know already from growing your own food, that many varieties, such as
peas and beans are going to yield great production. From the moment that you pick
them the process by which the veggie starts losing flavor, vitamins, freshness and so on
begins. Unless you are going to use them right away, you can blanch them to preserve
all of those previously mentioned characteristics.
Blanching your veggies is going to keep them crisp as opposed to “mushy” when you
cook them, which makes them taste very fresh. Blanching, especially when it comes to
tomatoes, will soften the skin, making them easier to peel, which comes in very handy
when you begin canning all of those extra tomatoes you are growing.
For us vegetable gardeners, blanching is very important, especially when you go to
freeze those veggies. If you harvest your veggies and vacuum seal them without doing
anything, place them in a freezer and then come January when you take them out to
use, as they thaw they will become soggy. Believe me there is nothing more disgusting
then eating soggy carrots. By blanching them first, you will help preserve, the flavors and
texture and just as important, the nutrient content.
As a side note, blanching makes it easy to remove peels from peanuts and almonds. I
just recently planted an almond tree, so I just had to mention it.
On the final question of, “Is it worth it?”, my answer would be absolutely Yes! Just think,
how many beans you will get from a handful of plants. You know what I am talking about
if you have grown beans. Blanching gives you the ability to enjoy fresh beans all winter
long, when growing them is no longer possible.
For more information on how you can keep and preserve more of your harvest, be sure to
check out Nancy Chioffi’s book Keeping the Harvest: Preserving Your Fruits, Vegetables
and Herbs (Down-to-Earth Book) , which is an illustrated step-by-step instruction book
that explains the techniques for canning, freezing, drying, and pickling.
" Blanching is the
process by which
you plunge your
bles, etc. into
boiling water for a
short amount of
time, then remove
plunge them into
an ice water bath
in its tracks"
Friday, June 22, 2012
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