Blanch and refresh
Blanching is to plunge veggies into boiling water for a short period of time. Refreshing means plunging the vegetables into iced water.
WHY: Blanching and refreshing will shorten the cooking time, so if you are making a stir fry and would like to add broccoli or cauliflower, it will ensure even cooking time with the other shorter cooking time veggies like peppers.
Refreshing stops the cooking process, so you’ll keep the crunch, it maintains the bright colour but also the nutrients.
More importantly, the process kills surface bacteria, especially when you want to freeze veggies.
HOW: Plunge your veggies into rolling boiling water, taste testing after a few minutes, the veggies should still have a crunch or bite to them. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge directly into the iced water, leave for a minute, remove and dry on a tea towel.
Certain veggies will take longer than others. It is impossible for me to say how long as green beans in my kitchen might be very thin and in your kitchen more like big fat runner beans. Tasting is your best guide but a good rule of thumb for asparagus is 2minutes, fine green beans 3 minutes and broccoli/cauliflower 4 minutes.
Important: the size of the saucepan and the amount of water is very important. Veggies need lots of space to cook in.
Top tip: We normally blanch vegetables but you can also blanch and refresh herbs to maintain the vibrant colour.