Sunday, February 28, 2010

Save your veggies...blanch 'em!

Last Saturday I scored a great deal on broccoli at the local produce market. Here it is, Sunday and we still hadn't eaten it yet. It still looked good, and was only starting to get a little soft. Our meals this week don't call for a hot vegetable until Wednesday, but if I waited til then, it would be inedible.

This is where blanching (and freezing) comes in super handy.

I usually always steam all fresh veggies, unless they are going into a recipe, so this is almost the same thing. I have a steamer basket that fits perfectly into one of my pots--they came together. All I do is heat up the water until boiling, add the veggies and let them cook til they're at the consistency that we like. Turtle likes his more on the softer side, I like mine with we try to aim for something in the middle...and usually the veggies on the bottom of the steamer are the softer ones.

Anyway, with blanching, you steam the veggies until they are almost done. Then you grab them out of the steamer (USE TONGS, don't be a moron and burn yourself!!) and plunge them into a bowl of cold water. The cold water will slow the cooking. Wait til the veggies have cooled, then toss into a zip top bag (as my pal Alton Brown would say) or a freezer-friendly container, throw 'em in the freezer, and voila! Frozen veggies JUST LIKE the ones at the grocery store. Granted, you probably paid more money for these guys (vs. frozen)...but if you can do a little more work by saving them before they go bad, you'll save money in the long run.

When you're ready to eat them, you can defrost them and cook them in the microwave.

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