Sunday, September 7, 2008

Kitchen tip -- blanching vegetables

If I can ever avoid work, I mean . . . make a job simpler or more efficient, I look for that opportunity. I don't like doing unnecessary work as there is by far enough necessary work to keep me busy into my unborn grandchildren's adult years. So, I have questioned the necessity of blanching vegetables before freezing them. I mean, if I am just going to cook them when I take them out anyway, what's the point?

I had to do some research. I found some helpful information, and enough knowledge to motivate me to take the time to blanch before freezing. This website offers the following explanation for blanching:

Blanching is scalding the vegetables in water or in steam for a short period of time. It is a very important step in freezing vegetables because it slows or stops the action of enzymes. These enzymes are essential for growth and maturation of the plant. If the enzyme action is not stopped before freezing, the vegetables may develop off-flavors, discolor, or toughen so that they may be unappetizing in a few weeks.

Further down the page on that same site is a handy reference chart for blanching times and procedures for various vegetables.

Blanched and frozen, nutrition preserved!

Blanching and freezing does an excellent job of preserving the nutritents in the produce and keeping them easily accessible in the off season. Canned vegetables are often cooked longer and have lost some of their nutrients in that process. For more on that check out this website. Here's another article that says frozen is even better than fresh, obviously not better than garden fresh. However, frozen stays as is for quite a while, whereas fresh vegetables lose their benefits more quickly. Of course it is better to eat canned than none, but if you are growing them, freeze them for long term storage if possible, and if you are freezing them, blanch them!

I had a heap of beans to freeze, so I sliced them, blanched them and they look beautiful! How exciting to enjoy garden fresh green beans in the summer time, and it really only took a few minutes. For even more great details on canning and freezing I have seen a few others refer to another site that gives thorough information about all things canning.

And, for more kitchen tips, head over to Tammy's Recipes.


Aimee Kieffer, aka "Momzoo" said...

I have been blanching my produce before I froze it for years now. The other day my sister asked me why this was only answer was "I don't know, because that is how 'they' say to do it." LOL Now I know the real answer, thanks for that tid bit of information. I am going to e-mail my sister right now with the real answer.

Jane said...

Thanks for the handy chart.
Seems like I always have to look the blanching times up!