How To: Blanching Vegetables

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Over the last few years I’ve come to realize how much I absolutely love preserving food that we’ve grown at home or that family members have grown. It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment whenever I go to the freezer or pantry to get something I’ve canned or frozen. This whole week I’m going to be talking about food preservation and how easy it is to do at home. The primary methods I use are water bath canning and freezing although someday I would absolutely love to get a pressure canner and begin to use that. It affords you so many additional foods that can be preserved since it is the only recommended way for low-acid foods. If you’re interested I’ve already posted a whole post on How To: Water Bath Canning, so if you’re interested go back and check it out!

Today, however, I’m going to be talking about blanching veggies. This is a necessary first step to preserving a lot of home grown food. When you blanch veggies you preserve the fresh flavor while killing any of the bacteria that might be on them. This method is a must for many of the veggies I’ll be showing you how to preserve this week.

For simplicities sake the photos that are accompanying this post is the photos of me blanching corn. I’ll be sharing more in depth later this week on how exactly to prepare it for the freezer. But for today you just get the photos from me blanching it!

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In order to blanch veggies you need to bring a large pot of water to a boil. It should be a rolling boil and once you put anything in it, it should return to a high boil within a minute. This is key since you need to kill any bacteria on the veggies. Boil the veggies for whatever the recommended time is for the specific veggie you’re working with. For corn the recommended time is 4 minutes, for tomatoes, 60 seconds.

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After boiling you place the veggies into a large bowl of ice water. They should sit in the water just as long as you had them in the hot water for. After they cool, drain the excess liquid since this can affect the finished product. After this you’re done and can progress to preserving whatever food you’re working with!

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One disclaimer, I am by no means an expert in this field. I am simply sharing the methods and lengths of time my research has shown me. If you are very interested in preserving your own food I highly suggest doing your own research and figuring out what you feel comfortable with. An excellent resource is the National Center for Home Food Preservation. I have found this to be a highly valuable resource maintained by experts in the field of home food preservation. I also suggest Ball’s book: The Complete Book of Home Preserving. However, since the recommendations can change I always suggest checking the NCHFP site before you try preserving any new recipes. You can never be too safe when it comes to preserving food!