In cooking, this term refers to a method of preparing vegetables. A large pot of water is brought to a rolling boil, and the vegetables are immersed for no more than a few minutes. Despite the name (and Webster 1913's definition), they should only lose color if overcooked. When properly blanched, green vegetables (notably broccoli) will actually look brighter. I believe this is due to chloroplast membranes rupturing and spilling out chlorophyll.

Blanched vegetables will be firm and a little plump, but less crunchy. Their flavor will improve, becoming less bitter but not stinky or sulfurous.
Blanching is generally thought of as a means of preparing vegetables, but it generically only means to cook something briefly, usually in water. In vegetables, it is used to kill harmful enzymes and set the color. For meats and bones, it is an excellent way to remove blood and other impurities.

When blanching vegetables: place the vegetables in rapidly boiling water. Return the water to a boil. Remove the vegetables and cool in cold water.

When blanching meat and bones: place the meat/bones in cold water. Bring the water to a boil. Simmer briefly. Cool the items by plunging them in cold water.

Blanch (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Blanched (#); p. pr. & vb. n. Blanching.] [OE. blanchen, blaunchen, F. blanchir, fr. blanc white. See Blank, a.]

1.

To take the color out of, and make white; to bleach; as, to blanch linen; age has blanched his hair.

2. Gardening

To bleach by excluding the light, as the stalks or leaves of plants, by earthing them up or tying them together.

3. Confectionery & Cookery (a)

To make white by removing the skin of, as by scalding; as, to blanch almonds.

(b)

To whiten, as the surface of meat, by plunging into boiling water and afterwards into cold, so as to harden the surface and retain the juices.

4.

To give a white luster to (silver, before stamping, in the process of coining.).

5.

To cover (sheet iron) with a coating of tin.

6.

Fig.: To whiten; to give a favorable appearance to; to whitewash; to palliate.

Blanch over the blackest and most absurd things. Tillotson.

Syn. -- To Blanch, Whiten. To whiten is the generic term, denoting, to render white; as, to whiten the walls of a room. Usually (though not of necessity) this is supposed to be done by placing some white coloring matter in or upon the surface of the object in question. To blanch is to whiten by the removal of coloring matter; as, to blanch linen. So the cheek is blanched by fear, i. e., by the withdrawal of the blood, which leaves it white.

 

© Webster 1913.


Blanch (?), v. i.

To grow or become white; as, his cheek blanched with fear; the rose blanches in the sun.

[Bones] blanching on the grass. Tennyson.

 

© Webster 1913.


Blanch, v. t. [See Blench.]

1.

To avoid, as from fear; to evade; to leave unnoticed.

[Obs.]

Ifs and ands to qualify the words of treason, whereby every man might express his malice and blanch his danger. Bacon.

I suppose you will not blanch Paris in your way. Reliq. Wot.

2.

To cause to turn aside or back; as, to blanch a deer.

 

© Webster 1913.


Blanch, v. i.

To use evasion.

[Obs.]

Books will speak plain, when counselors blanch. Bacon.

 

© Webster 1913.


Blanch, n. Mining

Ore, not in masses, but mixed with other minerals.

 

© Webster 1913.

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