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What Is Blanched Broccoli?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2016
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Blanched broccoli is a vegetable dish prepared by briefly placing the florets into boiling water to cook them slightly. Salt water is typically used for blanching, which adds some flavor through the cooking medium; sufficient water should be provided so that the florets can move freely once placed into it. Once this water is brought to a boil, then broccoli that has been cut from the stem into bite-sized florets is placed in the pot and allowed to cook for a few minutes. The blanched broccoli is then removed and can be served right away or frozen for later use.

Very few items and little cooking and preparation time are required to make blanched broccoli, which makes it ideal for many situations. A large pot should typically be filled with water, which is then placed on a stovetop over high heat to allow it to come to a boil. It is usually best for someone to begin with cold water, rather than hot water, as the times required to bring each to a boil is nearly the same and cold water from a tap often tastes better.

Salt should be added to the water for blanched broccoli. This introduces some seasoning and flavor to the broccoli as it cooks, without overpowering the actual taste of the vegetable itself. Once the water is salted, however, it may stop boiling for a few minutes, as higher salt content actually increases the boiling point of water.

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The broccoli for this dish should typically be prepared by rinsing it under cold water to clean it. The stems can then be cut away from the stalks, and each head can be cut up into bite-sized pieces. These florets should then be trimmed as needed to ensure any bad spots are removed and that they are ready for the water. Once trimmed, the florets can be placed into the pot of boiling water, which should be full enough for them to move freely within the pot. It is typically better for someone to cook the florets in multiple batches if using a small pot, rather than overcrowding the water. This ensures that the blanched broccoli is cooked through evenly.

The florets should only boil for a few minutes, until they take on a bright green coloration. They can then be removed from the water and either served immediately or placed into an ice-water bath. This “shocks” the blanched broccoli to ensure the vivid color remains and helps cool them for use in a salad or for freezing. The short duration of the boil allows the blanched broccoli to have a softer texture than when served raw, without diminishing the nutritional value of the water-soluble vitamin C within it.

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