To "blanch" a vegetable means to dunk it into boiling water for a short time. Blanching is useful. It has a couple of benefits.
1. For Freezing – If you are preparing vegetables for freezing, blanching them first will help retain the flavor, color and texture.
2. For Peeling – If you are canning tomatoes (or peaches) and have 400 of them to peel, blanching will get the peels off in no time flat.
Blanching is your friend.
My children have always participated in the blanching process. If you have small children, or children who don't like getting splashed with really hot water – you should do the blanching without them.
We like to live on the edge around here, have giant teenagers and have learned how to get the hot water splashing to a minimum.
So, the youngsters help with the blanching.
Today we will be using the blanching process to remove peels …
… from a few tomatoes.
Blanching is easy.
Here's how you blanch a tomato (or 400):
1. Cut out the core.
2. Cut an "X" on the bottom.
3. Drop tomatoes into simmering/boiling water (we do six to eight tomatoes at a time). Simmer about 30 seconds, or until peels begin to curl off.
4. Transfer tomatoes into ice water.
5. Slip off peels.
To prepare for the blanching, you'll need to get a couple things ready:
• a pot of boiling water
• a pot of ice water
• a bowl for all the skins (the chickens will love these)
• a bowl (or six bowls) for all the naked, skinless, blanched fruit
• Two youngsters (optional)
While the water on the stove is coming to a boil do a little trimming. Before blanching tomatoes I cut out the cores and carve the "X" on the bottom.
Once the water is boiling, you can begin.
The tomatoes take a dip in the hot tub first. They hang out there for about 30 seconds. Watch the bottoms of the tomatoes. When the skins near the "X" you carved begin to curl off the fruit, you will know they are done. This is also true of peaches.
When the skins begin to curl off, move the tomatoes (or peaches) into the ice water and slip off the skins immediately.
You do not want tomatoes (or peaches) you just blanched hanging out in the ice water for long. If they remain in the ice water, the skins will re-attach themselves to the fruit and you will be wondering why your skins are no longer "slipping" off.
Boiling water – ice water – immediately slip off skins.
You could (and probably should) use a basket to blanch your fruit six to eight pieces at a time. A basket will allow you to plunge them into boiling water and ice water and easily lift it back out. Since I don't have one, we just use a large slotted spoon and transfer our fruit one at a time.
Here's what the process looks like in our home:
• I cut out cores and carve Xs.
• Child No. 1 drops the tomatoes into boiling water and transfers them into ice water after 30 seconds.
• Child No. 2 takes the tomatoes out of the ice water and slips off the skins.
• Skins go in the chicken bowl (bowl filled with scraps for the chickens). Tomatoes go in a giant pot.
With this assembly line approach, you can blanch 400 tomatoes in no time at all.
And you have perfect, skinless tomatoes – ready to become:
• Spaghetti sauce
• Tomato juice
• Tomato sauce
• Pizza sauce
• Tomato marmalade
• Tomato preserves
• Stewed tomatoes
• or anything else you happen to do with tomatoes!
Or you could just cram them into jars and boil them. For easy canned tomatoes go here.
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