Ever wonder how stir-fry dishes have that bright-colored with just the right amount of crunch? It's because vegetables are first blanched to jump-start the cooking process. Want to learn how? Keep reading!
What is Blanching
Blanching is a technique used in food preparation (fruit and/or vegetables) when food is immersed in hot liquid (typically water) for a brief time.
What Does It Do
Blanching destroys the enzymes that cause vegetables to turn from bright green to grayish-brown and cause them to be mushy from the extended amount of cooking time.
Blanching is ideal for more dense vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower, which typically take a long time to cook and once they're just about to cook, they quickly turn soggy and the broccoli turns dull green color. Been there, done that?
Blanching also removes the bitter taste from vegetables and instead rewards you with fresh garden flavors.
It shortens cooking time and therefore, helps retain nutrients.
Blanching is great for meal planning throughout the week. You can set the vegetables then add any proteins thereafter, make a sauce, and you've got a meal!
Vegetables For Stir-Frying
Any of these vegetables can be stir-fried. I will list them alphabetically for now until I can categorize them at a later date. Let me know if I missed any (by leaving a comment) and I'll add them. 😊
Asparagus, Baby Corn, Bell Peppers, Bokchoy, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Eggplant, Green Beans, Green Onion, Mushroom, Onion, Pea Pods, Sugar Snap Peas, Zucchini
Steps in Blanching Vegetables For Stir-Frying
Time needed: 10 minutes
- Boil Water
Bring a big pot of water to a boil. The size of the pot would be enough to hold water that is at least three times in volume of the total vegetables you have for blanching.
- Blanch the Vegetables
Once the water boils, add vegetables from dense to lighter and leafier vegetables. Dense vegetables will take about 3 minutes to cook, whereas, lighter vegetables will take anywhere from 1 to 2 minutes.
- Shock the Vegetables
Place the cooked vegetables in ice-cold water immediately for 1 to 2 minutes.
What Does Shocking the Vegetables Mean
Shocking the vegetables is the process of immersing the blanched or cooked vegetables in ice-cold water for a few minutes. This process keeps the vegetables from cooking further.
Shocking vegetables are ideal for when you want to use the vegetables for cooking at a later time.
Note that if you are stir-frying a dish you can skip this step and use the blanched vegetables immediately.
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