How To Blanch Vegetables

How to blanch vegetables is a method where you boil or steam vegetables and then quickly dump them in water and ice to stop the cooking process. Then you are ready to freeze the vegetables and store them for future use.

Blanching Benefits

Steaming Vegetables

Steaming Vegetables

This kills any bacteria and enzymes remaining in the vegetable that will continue to grow even when your vegetables are frozen. These enzymes are the ones that make the plant grow. You want to stop this so that the texture, color and flavor stays about the same as when you pick it.

Blanching also helps kill some of the bad bacteria that could be on your vegetables before you freeze them. When vegetables are frozen, you will kill most of the bad stuff and stop the vegetable from trying to grow any more. Almost all vegetables should be blanched before freezing. There are a few exceptions in how to blanch vegetables.

The other benefit of blanching is the color, taste and flavor of your frozen vegetables is noticeably better. They will be softer making them easier to put up.

Special Notes!

Also note that under/over blanching is not good either.
Under blanching will not kill the bacteria and enzymes.
Over blanching will kill the taste and texture.
You want to blanch and freeze your vegetables the same size and shape that you will be using them once you thaw them out. Don’t blanch or freeze them whole if that is not the way you are going to use them after thawing. The only exception I can think of is if you want to use them shredded. It will pretty hard to shred any vegetable then blanch it.

What Not to Blanch

Some vegetables that do not need to be blanched are your herbs, peppers and onions. They are fine without blanching.

You should fully cook pumpkins, sweet potatoes and squash before freezing. Other then these all other vegetables should be blanched before freezing.

How to Blanch Vegetables – Steaming

Steaming is best for pumpkin, broccoli, winter squash and sweet potatoes. These are really delicate vegetables.

It will take about 1 1/2 longer times to steam then to boil vegetables.

Use the chart for on how to blanch vegetables by boiling below but multiply the time by 1.5

When steaming, make sure your pot lid fits on tight and that you have a basket that will hold your vegetables about 3 inches above the bottom.

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Put about 2 inches of water in the bottom and wait until it is boiling.

Place your vegetables in the basket in single layers. Don’t double up.

Put the basket in the steamer and then the lid.

Blanching time stars when you put the lid on.

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How to Blanch Vegetables – Boiling

Knowing how to blanch vegetables is fairly easy.

  • Be very careful, boiling water will easily scald you!
  • Wash your vegetables.
  • You basically use about 1 gallon of water per pound of vegetables.
  • Put your water in a big container and bring it to the boiling point.
  • Set up another big bowl with water and ice it down so it is
    very cold.
  • Cut up your vegetables.
  • Easily drop them into the boiling water so you don’t splash the boiling water on you.
  • If you have a real blanch-er, then certainly use it. It is a lot easier.
  • Leave them in the boiling water according to the chart below.
  • Your water may stop boiling. Wait until it starts boiling again before starting a timer.
  • Shake your vegetables some or otherwise move them around so the surface of them cook real well.
  • Once the time is up, scoop them out and you are almost done with how to blanch vegetables.
  • Using a wire basket to hold your vegetables is best. Otherwise a large scoop will do.
  • Drop them into a bowl of water that is iced down to stop the cooking process.
  • After they are cool, you can dry them and freeze.
  • You may want to put them on a cookie sheet when dry and pop them in the freezer to get them cold faster.
Blanching Times
Vegetable Boiling Time
Artichoke-Globe Hearts 7
Artichoke Jerusalem 3 – 5
Asparagus Small Stalk 2
Asparagus Medium Stalk 3
Asparagus Large Stalk 4
Beans – Small 2
Beans – Medium 3
Beans Large 4
Beets Cook Only
Brussel Sprouts – Small Head 3
Brussel Sprouts – Medium Head 4
Brussel Sprouts – Large Head 5
Cabbage 1 1/2
Carrots – Small 5
Carrots – Diced, Sliced 2
Cauliflower 3
Celery 3
Corn on the Cob – Small Ears 7
Corn on the Cob – Medium Ears 9
Corn on the Cob – Large Ears 11
Corn on the Cob – Kernels or Cream 4
Eggplant 4
Greens – Collard 3
Greens – All Others 2
Okra – Small Pods 3
Okra – Large Pods 4
Onions – Ensure center is heated 3 – 7
Peas – Pod 2
Peas – Greens 1 1/2
Peppers – Sweet Halves 3
Peppers – Rings or Strips 2
Potatoes – Irish 3 – 5
Squash – Summer 3
Turnips 2


How to Blanch Vegetables – Microwave

This is not really a preferred method of blanching vegetables. Some of the enzymes will not be deactivated in a microwave. Some of the color and texture will be lost this way also. IF you do want to blanch this way, get the instructions for how to blanch from the particular microwave manufacturer. There are just too many variables doing it this way to try to give you any advice here.

Here is a really nice steamer I like!


Oster 5712 Electronic 2-Tier 6-Quart Food Steamer, White

Oster 5712 Electronic 2-Tier 6-Quart Food Steamer

Gardener's Supply Company


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