• Maria Pfund, Nutritional Consultant

Blanching to Extend Produce Freshness

During self-isolation and quarantine, extending produce freshness for healthy eating as well as decreasing food loss and food waste. Colorful and healthy as they are, they’ll eventually turn on you.

Leafy greens—along with parsley, cilantro, green onions, and celery— last longer when trimmed a bit off their stems every few days, soaking them in warm water for about 10 minutes, and soaking again in cold tap water for five minutes. This process is called blanching, and one only needs a couple basic kitchen items and freezer-friendly zip-lock bags to do it. It includes scalding vegetables in steam for a short period of time, putting them into cold water, draining them, and then freezing them.

For example, with broccoli or cauliflower heads, cut the florets and stems into small pieces. Next, load the broccoli into the steamer basket and set it in a pot with water. There should be some space between the water and the actual vegetables (2-3 inches/7.6 cm). Set the stovetop heat on high and when it begins to boil, cover the pot.

Vegetables naturally release enzymes that start the process of rotting, losing flavor, color, and texture; but blanching deactivates them. The steaming will brighten their color, and it will also slow down the rate at which vitamins and minerals are lost.

Take-Home Message: Blanching is an easy technique to extend produce freshness. The process involves boiling, cold water and freezing for later use.

Reference Purdy, C. (2020, March 20). Fresh produce will go bad in quarantine. Here's how to keep it and waste less. Quartz. https://qz.com/1821550/how-to-extend-the-shelf-life-of-your-coronavirus-food-stockpile/

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