- For the term used in coinage, see Blanching (coinage).
Blanching is a cooking term that describes a process of food preparation wherein the food substance, usually a vegetable or fruit, is plunged into boiling water, removed after a brief, timed interval and finally plunged into iced water or placed under cold running water (shocked) to halt the cooking process.
Uses of blanching
- Peeling Blanching loosens the skin on some fruits or nuts, such as onions, tomatoes, plums, peaches, or almonds.
- Flavor Blanching enhances the flavor of some vegetables, such as broccoli, by releasing bitter acids stored in the cellular structure of the food.
- Appearance Blanching enhances the color of some (particularly green) vegetables by releasing gases trapped in the cellular material that obscure the greenness of the chlorophyll. Since blanching is done - and halted - quickly, the heat does not have time to break down chlorophyll as well.
- Shelf life Blanching neutralizes bacteria and enzymes present in foods, thus delaying spoilage. This is often done as a preparatory step for freezing and refrigerating vegetables.
Blanching can also describe deep frying in oil at a lower temperature as with the initial cooking of chips.
Blanching also weakens the structure of vegetables rendering them softer than fresh, this is beneficial for canning vegetables where the air in vegetables needs to be minimal.
- Desrossier, NW, The technology of food preservation, The AVI Publishing Company, 1965, p. 150-151