Sunday, 13 September 2009


As briefly mentioned in my last post, I have a habit of planting my seedlings in one go, without giving any thought to how big they will eventually get. This turned out to be a particularly large problem with my cabbages. Basically, the people to cabbage ratio was heavily against the humans. Despite our best efforts to give them away and eat cabbage for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we still ended up with far too many than we could deal with. The solution was a well spent morning in my kitchen batch-blanching the remaining veg.

Since I have never blanched anything in my life I thought I would go through the basics of what I did. If you've never done it before, I hope I can help. If there are any blanching experts out there, please feel free to comment on where I can improve!

To start I halved my cabbages and soaked them in salty water to get rid of any beasties that were still lurking (note to self - get nets to deter caterpillars next year!). Then I finely shredded the halves. My understanding of blanching is that you have to get the veg hot really quickly and then cool it quickly after about a minute.

The way I did this was to plunge the halves into boiling water and boil them for 2 minutes. I took them off the boil and straight into cold water. Since I had 10 halves, I then went onto boiling my second one. When that needed to go into the cold water I shifted the first half into ice water before boiling the third half. I continued in this way, shifting each half along the stage until I had a huge pile of blanched cabbage draining on some kitchen roll. Once the cabbage was dry, I then divided it into sandwich bags and popped them in the freezer.

Some of the tutorials will advise keeping the freezer as full as possible to prevent it warming up. One article I read even advised filling your freezer with bread when it started to get empty. We've got quite a small freezer anyway, so I didn't really bother with this bit too much.

One thing I will add to the blanching process - if you've got a lot of batches, you will need to refresh the water frequently as it will quickly warm up. Also, be prepared to live with your house smelling like cabbage for the rest of the day!

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