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BS: To blanch or not to blanch...

KT 06 Aug 13 - 02:38 PM
gnu 06 Aug 13 - 03:11 PM
sciencegeek 06 Aug 13 - 03:12 PM
bobad 06 Aug 13 - 06:43 PM
gnu 06 Aug 13 - 07:08 PM
Bobert 06 Aug 13 - 07:24 PM
bobad 06 Aug 13 - 07:44 PM
maeve 06 Aug 13 - 08:42 PM
Mo the caller 07 Aug 13 - 04:08 AM
gnu 07 Aug 13 - 06:21 AM
sciencegeek 07 Aug 13 - 07:12 AM
bobad 07 Aug 13 - 07:24 AM
Mo the caller 07 Aug 13 - 11:02 AM
bobad 07 Aug 13 - 11:36 AM
Mo the caller 07 Aug 13 - 11:54 AM
gnomad 07 Aug 13 - 01:34 PM
bobad 07 Aug 13 - 01:54 PM
gnomad 07 Aug 13 - 05:22 PM
KT 08 Aug 13 - 01:49 AM
GUEST,leeneia 08 Aug 13 - 02:01 AM
maeve 08 Aug 13 - 10:36 AM
KT 08 Aug 13 - 01:22 PM
Stilly River Sage 08 Aug 13 - 01:46 PM
Bat Goddess 08 Aug 13 - 08:18 PM
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Subject: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: KT
Date: 06 Aug 13 - 02:38 PM

Okay, all you gardeners out there, time to think about putting up some veggies for the winter. With regard to snap peas (edible pea pods) -   to blanch or not to blanch, that is the question.

It's about 50-50 according to what I've read on-line. Those opposed say the necessity to blanch went out with the availability of better quality freezers. I'd love to eliminate that step    if I can, but want to find top quality when I go to use them this winter.

And how about Kale? Anybody ever freeze it with good results?

Thanks for any thoughts from the seasoned gardeners in mudville!

KT


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: gnu
Date: 06 Aug 13 - 03:11 PM

Not a gardener but I would just like to say the quality of freezers has declined. A true freezer should attain a temp of at least -18C and many only get to -12C (this is especially true of freezer compartments of fridges with combined cooling of the refridgeration and freezing compartments and such should only be used for freezing goods of a high rate of turnover... a few months max). Be very careful when purchasing a freezer and make sure you get the specs in writing before hand. Put nothing in the new freezer and use a reliable thermometer to ensure it will attain the proper temp. If not, demand a refund within one week.

Check out freezing food properly at the government food safety websites. Your health lies in the balance.

I knew a lass named Blanche very well. She was hot.


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: sciencegeek
Date: 06 Aug 13 - 03:12 PM

depends.... once picked, all fruits & vegetables start to breakdown internally... oh for a working stasis device... :P

that said, the process is different for each variety and freezing can do a good job (be sure that you don't overload with warm stuff & then expect a quick response from home freezers).

I personnly hate to blanch... at least the old way... instead I boil water and then add to precut batches of vegetables in stainless steel or other heat proof bowls. Cover with the boiling water, place on a lid and then go away & do something else. When cooled off, test a piece to see if it tender enough. If not, then give it another shot of boiling water; if yes, cook it for a meal or freeze it... whatever.

No more stuck over a boiling pot waiting to pull out vegetables before they turn to mush or deal with steaming up the kitchen. Put on a large kettle & wait for the whistle - wasn't that a Bogart/Becall line?


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: bobad
Date: 06 Aug 13 - 06:43 PM

Microwave blanching is the way to go. I have been doing it for many years now and it is the fastest and easiest way to blanch bar none.


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: gnu
Date: 06 Aug 13 - 07:08 PM

bobad... instructions? details? If you please.


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: Bobert
Date: 06 Aug 13 - 07:24 PM

Blanching stops the deterioration...

Blanch, KT, blanch...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: bobad
Date: 06 Aug 13 - 07:44 PM

Our source is a Panasonic Microwave Cookbook that came with a Panasonic microwave/convection oven. We use the times and quantities given for the 7 vegetables in the chart and adapt for others not listed by approximating by size, density and equivalent cooking times.
All power levels are at highest setting and vessel used is covered Corningware casserole and we stir at around half way. Veggies are dumped into ice cold water to stop cooking then laid out onto towels to dry some. We then freeze in single layers on trays and bag so that veggies are not clumped and we can take as many as needed.

Asparagus cut in 2 in. pieces: 1lb. 1/4 C.water 2 - 2 1/2 min.

Green beans: 1lb. 1/4C. water 5 1/2 - 6 min.

Broccoli cut into florets: 1 - 1 1/4lb. 1/4C. water 4 - 4 1/2
min.

Brussel sprouts: 10oz. 1/4C. water 3 1/2 - 4 min.

Cauliflower cut into florets: 1 1/2 - 13/4lb. 1/4C. water 3 1/2 - 4 min.

Spinach leaves: 1 - 1 3/4lb. no water 2 1/2 - 3 min.

Zucchini cut into 1/2 to 3/4in. pieces: 1lb. 1/4C. water 3 - 31/2 min.


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: maeve
Date: 06 Aug 13 - 08:42 PM

Yes- bobad's method is my favorite. Less effort, less energy, and good results.


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: Mo the caller
Date: 07 Aug 13 - 04:08 AM

Can you translate the
1/4C. water
please.
Is that a quarter of a cup? If so, how big is your cup? I think the only reliable measure is litres, even the pints are different between England and America. Do you cover the veg with water?

Mo (genuinely confused, not trying to split hairs)


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: gnu
Date: 07 Aug 13 - 06:21 AM

Thanks, bobad.


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: sciencegeek
Date: 07 Aug 13 - 07:12 AM

this is a great site... very useful

http://www.metric-conversions.org/volume/us-cups-to-liters.htm

1 cup US = 0.2L

just select your measure to convert & plug in a value.

I use my microwave for steaming vegetables & small scale blanching when I can hang around & watch it...


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: bobad
Date: 07 Aug 13 - 07:24 AM

Mo the caller

1/4C. = 2oz. = 4Tbsp. = 60ml.


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: Mo the caller
Date: 07 Aug 13 - 11:02 AM

Thanks, I'll try it.
Do you start with cold water or hot?


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: bobad
Date: 07 Aug 13 - 11:36 AM

I start with cold.


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: Mo the caller
Date: 07 Aug 13 - 11:54 AM

The sorts of potatoes that taste best(King Edwards, Sharp's Express) tend to turn into soup if you boil them. So now I use a steamer.
But I wonder if I could steam them in a microwave.
Has anyone tried, and how do you adapt times etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: gnomad
Date: 07 Aug 13 - 01:34 PM

Mo, yes you can, but as I don't have experience of doing so I would suggest you consult a microwave cookbook for details if none emerge here.

Bobad's blanching info above is clearly good, but one vital element is missing, namely the power of the microwave in question. They vary considerably, and IIRC those in the USA are generally more powerful than those in the UK. Times or quantities may need some adjustment if there is a large difference in oven power.


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: bobad
Date: 07 Aug 13 - 01:54 PM

The microwave I use is 1000 watts.


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: gnomad
Date: 07 Aug 13 - 05:22 PM

Thanks, bobad. I think ours are gradually heading for higher powers around that level, but some are still in the 600 watt region and it would be a shame to get poor results just for lack of asking.


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: KT
Date: 08 Aug 13 - 01:49 AM

Okay, so it sounds like blanching is still recommended, but snap peas are so good when they're crispy. Wouldn't blanching make them too soft?


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 08 Aug 13 - 02:01 AM

Some foods just don't take to freeing, KT and snow peas and snap peas are among them. Even the professionals, who have all the resources they could desire, can't sell a package of frozen snap peas that are crisp.

I like my snow peas so crisp that when I make Chinese food, I simply take off the strings and lay the snow peas on top of the batch a few seconds before sitting down to dinner. Any cooking makes them mushy.

I think you have to bite the bullet and either eat up all your peas in season or live with frozen peas that have mushy pods. Even frozen they are good food.


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: maeve
Date: 08 Aug 13 - 10:36 AM

Blanching stops the enzyme action that leads to poor quality frozen veggies. It takes very little blanching of snap peas to get them ready to freeze. Immediate immersion into ice water stops the cooking. Drain, blot dry with a tea towel, freeze on cookie sheets, bag and label. Mine still have enough snap to be delicious and a pleasure to eat- not soft- although as leeneia points out, frozen snap or snow peas are not the same as fresh.

Start with the times bobad listed or look up the recommendations in a preservation cookbook or online. A little experimentation to calculate exact times with the available microwave/stovetop appliances at hand will go far to help you get excellent results from most any veggie or fruits you want to freeze..


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: KT
Date: 08 Aug 13 - 01:22 PM

Okay, blanching it is! I'll try the first batch today! Thanks everyone, for such great info!


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Aug 13 - 01:46 PM

Personally I rarely cook anything in the microwave (I stick to reheating foods in it), so I don't use it for blanching either. I have a couple of large kettles for the hot water bath canning method that I also use for blanching. Much of what I freeze is better when it is blanched - otherwise it dries in the freezer and isn't a good consistency. (Freezing without blanching resulted in unused food that was thrown away because it didn't look tempting.) Maeve's answer about stopping the enzyme action is succinct as any answer.

If a food isn't eaten fresh you have to give it the best preparation for long-term storage. I go by the Ball Blue Book: The Guide to Home Canning and Freezing. What you want is food that comes out next best to fresh, and that can take a little planning.

Good luck!

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: To blanch or not to blanch...
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 08 Aug 13 - 08:18 PM

You can freeze kale as is. Take out the frozen amount you want and crumple it in your hand and throw it into the soup (if that's what you're using it for). It's actually easier than using fresh. My great gardening friend Joan taught me that trick (when she gave me bags of kale...).

Linn


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