Blanching is a cooking method where vegetables are cooked for a short time in boiling water or steam and then immediately cooled in ice water. When done correctly, blanching the broccoli will preserve the vegetables' light green color and crisp texture. Here are two ways to blanch a vegetarian's favorite vegetable.
Method 1 of 2: Blanch in water
Step 1. Prepare broccoli
Rinse and slice the broccoli to the desired size. Try to keep all the buds the same size so that they all look the same.
Step 2. Boil water
Fill a large saucepan 2/3 full with water. Cover and place over high heat.
Once the water boils, add 1 tablespoon of salt. Adding salt to boiling water not only spices it up, but also raises the boiling point. This in turn helps you cook more efficiently
Step 3. Prepare an ice bath
While you wait for a pot of ice water to boil, fill a large bowl with cold water and ice cubes. Leave it aside.
Step 4. Boil the broccoli
Once the pot of water boils, gently place the broccoli in the boiling water. Start counting the blanching time from the moment the water boils again.
- Cook small inflorescences for about 3 minutes. Adjust the cooking time according to the size of the flowers.
- The broccoli should be light green and firm (albeit slightly soft) when you remove it from the water.
Step 5. Cool the broccoli
Remove broccoli with a slotted spoon or fine sieve, or drain into a colander. Place the broccoli immediately in an ice bath to stop cooking.
Remove cooled buds from cold water after 30 seconds and place back in a colander
Step 6. Serve
As with other vegetables, blanching broccoli can be the main cooking method or the first step before stewing or frying.
Secondary cooking methods (such as stewing) add flavor to the vegetables and usually do not cook properly. Blanching is a great way to pre-cook vegetables before adding them to a sauté or roast
Method 2 of 2: Blanching with steam
Steam blanching can be the main cooking method or preparation for freezing. This method preserves the color, crispness, nutritional value and texture of vegetables. Vegetables that are blanched before freezing retain up to 1300% more vitamin C and other nutrients than non-blanched frozen vegetables.
Step 1. Peel and cook the broccoli
Slice the broccoli into equal florets.
Step 2. Prepare for steaming
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Place vegetables in a basket suspended over boiling water. Cover the pot and prepare an ice bath as in the previous example.
Try to arrange the buds in one layer so that steam penetrates all parts of the broccoli
Step 3. Time yourself
When the steam starts to disappear, start counting down the blanching time.
- It takes about 5 minutes to blanch the steamed broccoli.
- Halfway through the cooking time, remove the lid and make sure the broccoli does not stick together and that everything cooks evenly.
Step 4. Stop the cooking process
Once the broccoli blanching process is complete, remove the basket and immediately place the broccoli in an ice bath.
Step 5. Finish blanching
After the broccoli has cooled in ice water, transfer the broccoli to a colander and let the buds dry before eating or freezing.
- Heat broccoli for just 1 to 2 minutes before adding to other dishes.
- Combine broccoli with pasta or stir-fry before cooking.
- Use blanched vegetables in gravy or salads.
- Freeze blanched broccoli in a vacuum plastic bag for later use.
- Insufficient water (vegetables partially covered with water) will result in uneven cooking. Make sure to use enough water to cover all of the broccoli while blanching.
- Blanching for longer than 2 minutes will discolor the vegetables and result in a soft, mushy texture.