Blancing Vegetables, Is It Necessary?
Blanching (scalding vegetables in boiling water for a short time) is a must for almost all vegetables to be frozen. It stops enzyme actions that can cause loss of flavor, color and texture. Blanching further cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color, helps retard loss of vitamins and makes vegetables easier to pack.
For home freezing, the best way to heat vegetables is in a blancher, which has a blanching basket and cover. An alternative is to fit a wire basket or large strainer into a large pot with a lid.
Blanching is simple. To blanch in water, you will need a gallon of water for a pound of vegetables. Bring the water to a boil. Place vegetables in the perforated blancher or wire basket and immerse in boiling water. Start timing as soon as you put vegetables in water and cover the pot.
As soon as blanching is complete, immediately cool vegetables in a large quantity of ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain vegetables thoroughly after cooling and package for freezing.
Blanching is recommended for the corn that is coming from your garden now or the farmer’s market. If you are freezing corn on the cob, blanch small ears 7 minutes, medium ears, 9 minutes and large ears 11 minutes. For whole kernel or cream style corn, blanch ears 4 minutes, chill and cut from the cob.
For information on blanching times of vegetables, consult the National Center for Home Food Preservation at http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze.html.