Blanching is a technique that involves briefly submerging vegetables in boiling water before removing and placing them in an ice bath to quickly stop the cooking process. The vegetables can then be used in a variety of salads, sushi rolls*, stir fries, or simply eaten as is. The vegetables can also be refrigerated or frozen if you plan on using them in the near future.

Usually salt is added to the boiling water but really, it’s optional. There are a couple reasons salt is usually added though. First off, it helps season the vegetables. In my opinion, it’s very minimal. The second reason however, is that salt might help draw out less of the vegetable’s own salts and sugars.

The key to it all is the ice bath at the end. When you “shock” the vegetables after their brief time in the boiling water, it immediately stops the cooking process and locks in the flavor and color of the vegetables.

These vegetables can then be sealed and frozen for later use. Restaurants also blanch vegetables ahead of time so they can crank out orders quicker.

Depending on what vegetable is being used, the blanching time can take anywhere from a minute to close to an hour. Also make sure you are using a sufficiently large pot. If the water doesn’t return to a boil within one minute of adding the vegetables, you are adding to many vegetables at one time.

*Yuck! (personal opinion)