Why blanche vegetables before freezing?

Tea Drinker
  • Why blanche vegetables before freezing? Tea Drinker

    I have a bumper crop of french beans, runners, and (earlier in the summer) peas. I know that we're supposed to blanche vegetables prior to freezing and my general purpose cookbooks tell me how long to give each vegetable.

    I believe that blanching helps retain flavour, colour and vitamins. But I don't understand how or why. It seems counterintuitive that the best way to preserve the vegetable immediately prior to freezing, as close to its natural state as possible, is to apply heat via boiling water.

    You would think that just picking the vegetable and bundling it into your freezer as fast as possible would be the best way to preserve colour, vitamins etc.

  • To prevent the vegetable from going 'off' in the freezer.

    From answers.com:

    Blanching is the scalding of vegetables in boiling water or steam. Blanching slows or stops the action of enzymes. Up until harvest time, enzymes cause vegetables to grow and mature. If vegetables are not blanched, or blanching is not long enough, the enzymes continue to be active during frozen storage causing off-colours, off-flavours and toughening. Blanching time is crucial and varies with the vegetable and size of the pieces to be frozen. Under-blanching speeds up the activity of enzymes and is worse than no blanching. Over-blanching causes loss of flavour, colour, vitamins and minerals.

  • We have cut off our corn & immediately frozen it for years with no blanching. Guest at our table ask how our corn taste so fresh. We tell them: immediately freezing the cut off corn stops the enzyme growth continuing. Zero degree freezer does the same thing. The color and taste even 2 yrs. later is perfect. Save yourself a lot of work - don't blanch. Many do it just because Grandma always did - Grandma didn't have a freezer, she canned!

    We do the same for our green beans too. They come out of the freezer in the winter months just like garden fresh...with no blanching. Do the extra work of blanching if it makes you feel better, or try this once and you'll be amazed at the ease and good taste of unblanched frozen corn & greenbeans.

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