The Blanching Shortcut Home Cooks Should Know

Blanching is a cooking technique that helps retain the vibrant color, crisp texture, and nutrients of vegetables. Traditionally, the process involves submerging blanched vegetables in an ice water bath to halt the cooking. However, for home cooks looking for a simpler and time-saving approach, using cold running tap water can be just as effective. Not only does it eliminate the hassle of preparing an ice bath, but it also helps preserve the freshness and flavors of the vegetables. Let's explore why cold tap water is the go-to method for stopping the blanching process, particularly for smaller batches of vegetables.

Cold tap water serves as an efficient tool to achieve the same goals as traditional blanching. This technique works so well because running tap water allows you to quickly cool down the vegetables, saving valuable time in stopping the cooking process. Ending the cooking of the vegetables prevents further heat absorption. By cooling the vegetables quickly, cold tap water helps retain their natural flavors and crispness because it halts enzymatic activity that can lead to a loss of flavor.

Time the cold water just right

To ensure the best outcome when using cold tap water to stop the blanching process, keep a close eye on the blanching process to avoid overcooking the vegetables. As soon as they reach the desired level of tenderness, immediately transfer them to the sink under running cold tap water. Let the cold tap water run over the vegetables for at least a minute or until they have cooled completely. 

The continuous flow helps maintain a consistent cooling effect, preventing residual heat from further cooking the vegetables. Be sure to drain off any extra water to keep it from heating and further cooking the vegetables too. It is worth noting that this technique is most suitable for home cooks working with smaller quantities of vegetables. If you're blanching a larger batch, consider dividing them into manageable portions and blanching them separately to ensure optimal cooling. 

So, next time you are blanching a small batch of vegetables, turn on the cold tap water.