Questions about blanching

ryseryse_2004December 29, 2012

I used to blanch all vegetables before freezing but have found it an unnecessary step in several things. Spinach and peppers taste just as good after freezing without blanching. Corn on the cob frozen straight from picking without husking and blanching. Leaving the husks on it sort of like double packaging.

What are your experiences?

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malna

To be honest, blanching is one of those areas where the NCHFP and I definitely part ways.

We blanch our home-grown broccoli for about 30 seconds (more like a good rinse in boiling water) just until bright green, not 3 minutes.

Snow peas and green beans - maybe 20-30 seconds just until they turn brilliant green.

Brussel sprouts - depending on size, 30 seconds to 1 minute, nowhere near 3 to 5 minutes.

Corn on the cob - we grill ours with the husk on (wrapped in foil) to a partially cooked stage, cool and freeze. I laughed when I read the 7 to 11 minute blanching times. Even if I'm eating it for dinner the night it was picked, I wouldn't boil it that long (I wouldn't boil it period, but that's another topic).

Peppers - no blanching.

Okra - no blanching because it gets too slimy. Prick it with a knife to let the air escape, pop it in a bag and vacuum seal.

Other vegetables are either canned or preserved another way, as some we just don't like frozen (like beets). We still have Brussel sprouts from 2 years ago (the year of the incredible bumper crop) and they taste like fresh ones. So (me personally) I'm not convinced long blanching times are necessary. But to each his/her own taste buds and cooking styles.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 5:03PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I always blanch leafy greens, broccoli, brussel sprouts - would blanch green beans if I liked them frozen, but I don't so don't freeze those (we prefer canned). Corn - you can maybe get away without blanching but depending on how long you are keeping it, corn unblanched may lose flavor or texture, possibly nutrients. But if you are satisfied with your product, its fine, no safety issue of course. I bought a smaller, energy efficient freezer to replace my 40 year old 23 cu ft Kelvinator this year, I couldn't possibly freeze corn on the cob, there won't be room.

(old freezer still working like a dream but we moved and left it in the basement of our other house, not sure how it would react to having its door taken off and being hauled up basement stairs, the trip here, changing locations :))

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 5:06PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

IMO as long as you understand that flavor isn't the only consideration then it is your choice. I prefer to blanch not only to kill bacteria and destroy the spoilage enzymes but to preserve color and nutrients. But then we are also working toward really long-term storage with our foods.

If you are freezing for only short term storage or if nutrient levels and color aren't all that important to you then skipping the blanching could be a time saver I guess.

Dave

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 5:47PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Our corn is "au naturel" so especially later in the season I want my corn blanched because there are aphids and worms and various bacterial residues on the ears.

I do feel the same as Dave that for longest-term storage and preservation blanching is very helpful, though I don't generally find it necessary to blanch as long as recommended.

Carol

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 1:01AM
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soonergrandmom

I freeze peppers without blanching. I find that okra is much better not blanched. I wash it and freeze it, then bag it. When ready to use, I cut the pods while partial frozen, but I don't usually have enough frozen for it to last very long so I don't know about storage life.

I would not be comfortable with corn that had not been blanched.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 3:48PM
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pattypan(z6b CT)

dave, above you said "But then we are also working toward really long-term storage with our foods. " how long would that be for blanched frozen corn ? i know different foods have various storage lives, i always seem to freeze more than a year's worth of most things.
this is a question of chemistry...home canned goods, cooked and vacuum-packed, how long is too long to store them ? i bet the NCHFP has not carried it out past a year or 2.
thanks !

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 3:34PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

dave, above you said "But then we are also working toward really long-term storage with our foods. " how long would that be for blanched frozen corn ?

5 years is our target, blanched and vacuum packaged. We have some that is dated 2006 in the deep chest freezer that while it may not be great corn on the cob still it is edible in chowder, casseroles, muffins, fritters, etc. Still good food just not prime.

how long is too long to store them ?

Canned? Technically indefinately. They are still safe to eat is just that the quality declines. Frozen? Depends in part on the freezer but I don't find 5 years to be out of line.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 7:42PM
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pattypan(z6b CT)

5 years ! i like that. most of what i freeze goes into soup all winter. now i won't worry about freezing too much. it's good to have backup in case my garden has a weather or pest disaster.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 9:49PM
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