Blanching! Shocking! Summer Veg Prep!

2015-07-26 12.17.22As I lay comatose after our best market ever this Saturday, I started thinking about how well one of my favorite summer vegetables was received this week. Beans. The humble bean – mighty nitrogen fixer and meaty green vegetable. They truly round out any meal the summer decides to dish up. Time and time again, I can remember a blah dish made WOW! with simply blanched beans, sauteed with garlic & herbs. Then that got me thinking about the technique itself. Blanching – this is my go-to veggie prep method because it really showcases the true flavor of the veggies. It was there and then in my prostrate posture that I decided what this day needed was a little blanching and shocking. Ahem.

On the menu for the week, my trusty sidekick and partner-for-life Spencer and I decided was a lot of BLTs, as it was now finally heirloom tomato season (hallelujia!), and we also noted in the fridge clean-out process on Friday, that we have an incredible amount of mayo in our fridge – BLTs it is. What does this have to do with blanching, you ask? Nothing, except that I like to multi-task, and baking bacon takes exactly as long as it takes to blanch a bunch of other food, so there you have it!

We farmers love a solid breakfast, and hardboiled eggs are at the top of the list for easy fast protein in the morning. We tend to boil 12 eggs every week to keep us fueled – and that is essentially blanching, so those make this post as well!

Also on the list are many fun salads with lots of crunchy, flavorful things in it – like beans, and beets. So, that’s what Sunday prep has in store! Onward!

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First, we boil water – then toss in beans and beets. Eggs, we bring to a boil in cold water. Once the veggies are boiling, simmer for no longer than 3 minutes, then shock in an ice water bath! Once eggs are boiling, turn them off, cover and let sit in hot water for 10-12 minutes, then cool in an ice water bath.

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Beautiful beans keep their gorgeous green snappy color when blanched & shocked… even if you saute them later!

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Eggs like to sit in ice water for a bit before peeling. If you are keeping them for the week, put back into a labeled carton “hardboiled” and the date. Peel as needed. Sometimes, eggs require cracking and sitting in a bowl of warmish water to peel properly. Eggs continue to be mysterious.

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Beets want to cool in an ice bath after becoming fork-tender in a boil long enough to release their skins when persuaded ever so slightly…

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I kind of give each beet an “Indian burn” (sorry for the insensitive reference, but I think of this every time I peel beets!), sort of wringing each beet to rid it of the skin.

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It does work beautifully…

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Perfectly skinned beets ready for any salad of the week!

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I always de-stem my beans after the blanching and shocking process, as it is quicker and easier.

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Beautiful beans ready for salads and dinners throughout the week!

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Are you been baking your bacon? Why not? Now is the time! On a rack on a baking sheet – 350°F for 20 minutes, then rotate pan and bake until crispy.

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And – that’s how it’s done. Perfect for BLTs all week! Enjoy!

Originally posted July 26, 2015

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