blanching carrots


If you can blanch your vegetables well, then you have found a better way to keep them for longer, bring out their taste and texture, and also enjoy them as fast as you can in your delicious meals. What if you have a lot of questions about blanching? Those are all covered here.


Blanching is simply a way to heat vegetables for some time either in boiling water or steam, and quickly cool them to room temperature. Put in a science language, it is a pre-treatment method which you can apply to foods (vegetables).

Pre-treatment because it does not end there when you blanch your vegetables. You may have to do something extra to them, say, freezing, blending, cooking, drying, roasting, grilling, pickling or even eating. Blanching alone cannot be a final end of your vegetables.

tomatoes being blanched

To put it more clearly, blanching is done when food is heated quickly to a set temperature, maintained for a specific time and then quickly cooled to room temperature.

Suggested reading: 7 reasons why we cook


Specific times are used in large food processing industries to achieve uniformity of process and of final food product.

But for you at home, using your personal judgement is very important because a recommendation which might work for you, may not work for your neighbor down the street – we all use different heat sources, saucepans and whatnot. But here is a simple guide. The time to blanch any vegetable depends on the;

  • type of vegetable
  • size of vegetables you are blanching
  • kind of heating medium (boiling water or steam)
  • temperature of the heating medium

Indeed, the blanching time for carrots will differ from taro leaves. Cuts of carrots will soften faster than whole carrots. Using steam is certainly not the same as using boiling water. If you use water which has not yet boiled, you will definitely have a different blanching time than if you use a vigorously boiling water.

It is recommended that you keep these points in mind when blanching your vegetables.

A well blanched vegetable maintains its nutritional properties. It is not too soggy or soft. And it is also not hard like it was when you got them. As you practice blanching at home, you will soon become an expert at it.


Is there even a good reason to go through the stress of blanching? It is a big yes! Blanching has some really incredible benefits.

It deactivates enzymes which might cause the food to lose its flavor and texture over time when stored. Have you ever experienced your leafy greens becoming somewhat brown and soft in your refrigerator? Well, the enzymes were at work.

Because of the heat applied during blanching, the microorganisms which can cause diseases (pathogenic microbes) are destroyed, making the food safer for consumption or preservation. Remember, if it’s not safe, it’s not food.

blanching vegetables

Blanching your veggies also makes them softer and juicier for eating. The texture simply becomes a lot better.

The softness also enables you to easily pack it into jars and other containers for long term storage.

It saves time and money. Yes, the next time you use a blanched vegetable in your meals, it should take you much shorter time to get a delicious meal ready for your lovely family or yourself.

Makes peeling of some vegetables easy. For instance peeling tomatoes become easy to do when you blanch it.

The color of certain foods, for instance broccoli, becomes vibrant and pleasing to the eye.


If you under-blanch your vegetables, it would have been better if you had not even tried blanching them at all. Because the inadequate heat you used in the blanching causes the enzymes in the food to be released from their “bondage”. But that heat was not enough to kill or inactivate them. So they are even more alive and active, moving around freely. So they will cause the vegetables to deteriorate even faster.

Let’s do a little bit of science here

The main enzymes which cause fruits and vegetables to lose their quality are lipoxygenase, polyphenol oxidase, polygalacturonase and chlorophyllase.

If you over-blanch vegetables, they will become too soft and soggy and lose their texture as if you have cooked them. But since you will likely be throwing the blanching water away, the vegetables would have lost important nutrients, phytochemicals, chemicals and other nutritional benefits.


Have you ever thawed (defrosted) fresh tomatoes after freezing and it brought out a lot of water and was not plump again as when you first put it in the fridge? That is freezing or chilling injury (depending on the temperature).

The tomatoes has lost its integrity and freshness because the ice crystals which formed during the freezing, pressed hard on the tissues of the tomatoes. The tissues could not withstand the pressure so they just burst.

Think of it this way, you put a large stone on a balloon, after removing the stone, will the balloon be as it was? Certainly not! That is what happens to fruits, vegetables and pretty much any other food when you freeze them (inappropriately).

If you blanch vegetables, they become soft already and so they do not have anything to lose if ice crystals decide to press on them. Additionally, the way in which you do the freezing also matters.

If you are interested in learning more about the best practices to freeze your food at home, please leave a comment below this post.

Suggested reading: How to season meat for cooking


In case you have wondered what is the best way to blanch vegetables, here are a few tips

First, take note of the type of vegetable, size of vegetables cuts, the kind of heating medium (boiling water or steam) and the temperature of the heating medium. These are the basic conditions that control whether your vegetables come out well-blanched or otherwise.

If you are using boiling water to blanch your vegetables, make sure the water covers the veggies all through. If you are using steam, you should provide a good cover to prevent the steam from escaping.

Do not put too much veggies in one saucepan. Allow for easy stirring and the veggies should be free. Use a big saucepan then, depending on the quantity of vegetables you are blanching.

Softer and small size veggies blanch faster. So take care not to over cook.

Too large chunks of veggies may not blanch evenly and their inside would still look fresh, causing under-blanching. Cut veggies to even medium sizes.


Here are some best foods to blanch with their recommended times

VegetableTime (seconds)
Leafy greens (eg. taro leaves)60 – 120
Broccoli florets180
Carrots (cuts)120 – 180


  1. In a sizable covered saucepan, quickly bring enough water to a boil (enough depends on the quantity of produce. Using personal judgement is good. Also refer to tips above). Get a slotted spoon ready and also fill a large bowl with cold or chilled water.
  2. Plunge the already washed and cut (or not) veggies into the boiling water. Cover and allow it to boil as recommended. (Your cooking time may or may not be different from the recommendations)
  3. Remove the boiled veggies with a slotted spoon to drain them, and immediately plunge into a bowl of cold water. You could use an ice water. But the idea is for the blanched veggies to attain room temperature as quickly as possible. The time the spent in the boiling water could be applied to the chilling time as well
blanching carrots


Blanching is gives a good texture to food and comes in as precursor to other preservation method, but what are some other sides of it?

There are some important micronutrient components in plants that may not withstand the high temperatures – they are sensitive to heat. These nutrients may be destroyed. Also, some nutrients can leach out into the boiling water. Mostly, water used for blanching is discarded and so those water-soluble nutrients would be lost. For instance ascorbic acid (vitamin C) could be destroyed.

Blanching only destroys some microorganisms, not all. So it is not a standalone process. It needs to be combined with another process such as freezing, roasting, drying, among other processes in order to be effective.

Blanching can go really bad when not done well. As discussed earlier, under-blanching or over-blanching is not a way to go.

Suggested reading: 7 simple ways to store fresh produce for longer


Blanching is a really good and inexpensive way to ensure your vegetables can last longer. Even though it has some disadvantages, when done right, it can become one of your go-to methods when handling vegetables at home. It does take time and practice to master it though. So now follow this comprehensive guide if you want to explore or improve your skills in blanching vegetables at home.

If you are interested in learning more about the best practices to freeze your food at home, please leave a comment below this post.

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