There are so many great conversations on the Hotline—it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge—and to keep the conversation going.
Today: To shock or not to shock blanched vegetables.
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Blanching is easy: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt (a lot), and drop in your vegetables. A quick dip and you have partially-cooked, evenly-seasoned vegetables without any fuss. Plus, blanching doesn't leach out any of the vegetable's color. Pretty ingredients make for pretty finished dishes, logically.
The age-old blanching question does, however, remain: To shock or not to shock? Shocking—placing vegetables in ice water directly after blanching, as to halt the cooking process—stops vegetables from going to mush. Or at least that's what we've always assumed, which is why we asked if you always shock vegetables in ice water after blanching. Your answers shook-up our preconceived blanching ideas—and gave us a genius idea for an ad hoc ice bath device to boot:
"Yes, I do," sexyLAMBCHOPx says. "Especially for a crudité platter."
Pegeen does to preserve green vegetables' color. She suggests a salad spinner as a makeshift shocking device (add ice to the outer bowl, fill with water, and simply lift the inner basket out after the vegetables cool).