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Blanching idea but mostly questions

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I was doing a mass blanching of around 30 lbs of asparagus I got for 88 cents a pound today.  I did not have alot of ice to use for the blanching and did not want to go to the store.

I had 4 glass containers of chicken stock the size of small loaves of bread in the freezer so I used these to put in the sink for ice water.

One good idea I picked up on the net for blanching is to use two water vessels, one for the first cooling and a second for the final.  The first vessel does most of the work and gets changed often.  I love this great idea.

My questions regarding blanching are as follows:

1.  Is the above idea good, does partial defrosting of the stock hurt anything?
2.  Would you need to add time when blanching at high altitude as water boil at a lower temp?
3.  Is there any clear cut way to see if your blanching is done correctly?
4.  I assume it is wise to change the boil water when doing long blanching runs like I did tonight (approx 30 1 lb batches).

When I find food on sale I love stocking up and getting into these mass production assembly line situations.

Got me hypnotized.
post #2 of 12
1.  Is the above idea good, does partial defrosting of the stock hurt anything?

Probably not. My inclination with stock, however, if it's going back in the freezer, is to reheat it at a simmer, cool it down, and refreeze. I have no reasons to offer; it's just how I do it.

2.  Would you need to add time when blanching at high altitude as water boil at a lower temp?

How low is low? Blanching is done to stop enzymatic activity, not to destroy pathogens. If it's boiling it's probably hot enough to achieve its task.

3.  Is there any clear cut way to see if your blanching is done correctly?

Not that I know of.

4.  I assume it is wise to change the boil water when doing long blanching runs like I did tonight (approx 30 1 lb batches).

Why? Other than the fact you are, in effect, making asparagus stock, that has no effect on the blanching process.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 12
Blanching is an easy technique that many cooks use to keep vegetables crisp and tender. By boiling vegetables briefly, chilling them in ice water, then reheating them slowly, blanching preserves texture, color and flavor.
post #4 of 12
Blanching is necessary with many vegetables before freezing, and also handy in prepping food.  I do tend to find it lessens the flavour somewhat though, maybe that's just me. Plenty of recommendations on the net for blanching times.

To know if it's worked properly...hard to say.  Go by what's recommended, and as long as they are not soft but just a touch soft - you should be right :)
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Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #5 of 12
Blanching is a great way to prep your vegetables for quick service.  When vegetables are blanched correctly, that is to say that you have put them in water that is at a rolling boil, cooked them for about 1.5 min and then dropped them into ice water, you can reheat slowly or quickly, depending on your needs.  I find that blanching doesn't lessen the flavor, just alters it. 
It does have it's drawbacks, though.  If blanched veggies aren't drained and treated correctly, the flavor will leech out and you will be left with crummy veggies. Only blanch what you are going to need, keep them raw as long as it is possible.

Also, blanched veggies have less of the good stuff in them, so it is not for the health conscious.

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post #6 of 12
Blanching is one of those cooking techniques that sounds complicated but it really isn't it good way to preserve food. It is the to deactivate the enzyme that is very responsible to spoil food.
post #7 of 12
I know that veggies with chlorophyll will become much brighter in color when they are at the point they should be shocked. Aside from that not too sure.
post #8 of 12
What was so pressing that you had to immediately blanch the asparagus.  If you didn't have enough ice on hand or didn't want to go to the store for more, then simply make your own in two or three hours you could have plenty of ice.  When I brine, I can either get a big bag from the store $3-4,  or I can put Plastic Ice Cream gallon buckets filled with water in the freezer about 3 is more ice than a big bag from the store.  The wife buys cheap sherbet ice cream in the plastic gallon containers 3 or 4 times a year.  I have save 6-8 of the containers, they are great for a variety of things.
post #9 of 12
You're mixing up two processes, blanching and shocking.  You blanche when you submerge an item in boiling water briefly -- too briefly to cook it through.  You shock when you submerge a hot item in ice water water in order to stop it form cooking further with residual heat.

Although it's not quite as fast, you can shock and stop cooking with cold water -- ice isn't actually necessary, especially with anything as thin as asparagus.    

Hope this helps,
BDL
Edited by boar_d_laze - 3/2/10 at 4:30pm
post #10 of 12
Quote:
that is to say that you have put them in water that is at a rolling boil, cooked them for about 1.5 min and then dropped them into ice water
 

It's really impossible to make a blanket statement about the length of blanching vegetables.  Some vegetables can take a few seconds, while other may take many minutes.  It all depends the type of vegetable, the size and the cut of the vegetable.  Many root vegetables can take numerous minutes, even for small cuts, while blanching spinach or various other greens might take 5-10 seconds.
post #11 of 12
That's very true.  I happily retract my time statement. :)

A limb on a tree and a tree in a hole and a hole in the blog and the blog down in the valley-o!

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A limb on a tree and a tree in a hole and a hole in the blog and the blog down in the valley-o!

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post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete View Post



It's really impossible to make a blanket statement about the length of blanching vegetables.  Some vegetables can take a few seconds, while other may take many minutes.  It all depends the type of vegetable, the size and the cut of the vegetable.  Many root vegetables can take numerous minutes, even for small cuts, while blanching spinach or various other greens might take 5-10 seconds.

It is true that blanching vegetable depends upon the type and kind of vegies. The leafy takes few and the stem take more than a minutes .
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