January is a great time to buy and cook local winter greens - broccoli, chard, kale, spinach, collards…we hope you sauté, or braise, or steam these beauties at home for your family.
However, if you don’t think you will be able to cook them in time before they go bad, here’s a quick tutorial on how to blanch them and save them for a future date!
Blanching is a culinary term that means, “to cook an item partially and very briefly in boiling water or in hot fat. Usually a pre-preparation technique, as to loosen peels of vegetables, fruits, and nuts, to partially cook French fries or other foods before service, to prepare for freezing, or to remove undesirable flavors.” [Source: “Professional Cooking”, Wayne Gisslen]
That’s a technical way to say: quickly cook at high temp, then chill immediately.
Here’s what you do:
1. Chop up the greens. While chopping, put a pot of salted water on the stovetop and bring that water to a rapid boil.
2. Once water is boiling vigorously, put the greens in and let them cook for 1-3 minutes. It is important to not let them boil for too long, as you will lose more nutrients and texture the longer they cook. Wait for them to turn a bright color and soften slightly…for thicker greens, boil slightly longer – more delicate greens only need 1 minute or so.
3. While the greens are boiling, get another bowl and fill it with ice water (this is your “ice bath” for the greens – yes, they’re getting a little spa treatment…)
4. Drain greens in a colander, and quickly move them to their ice bath. Let them cool to room temperature. Drain them again in the colander.
5. Put greens in Ziploc freezer bags and label with the date you cooked them. Store them in your freezer.
Blanch away, friends! Don’t waste those good greens.