Usually refers to the process of dropping fruit or vegetables into boiling water for about 30 seconds to loosen the skins before canning or freezing.
To blanch the food, you place it in a pot of rapidly boiling water and boil for about 30-40 seconds before removing the food. After removing from the boiling water, you then drop the fruit or vegetables in ice cold water to stop them from cooking. Blanching is an easy way to remove skins from tomatoes and other soft-skinned fruits and vegetables.

Helpful Hints:

  • Always blanch in small batches. This stops any disruption of the boiling water.
  • Nutrients escape quickly in boiling water, so make sure that the duration of the blanching is as short as necessary to remove the skins. This will help seal nutrients inside the food, and decrease the chances of them escaping.
  • By blanching in small batches, you also increase the speed with which you get the food from the hot water into the cold water bath. The sooner it gets into the cold water, the quicker you stop the cooking process!
  • Blanching also causes the fruits and vegetables to shrink, making them easier to can or freeze.

To Blanch Vegetables for Freezing:

Blanching vegetables for freezing, and not to remove the skins, requires longer blanch times in the boiling water. The benefit to blanching your vegetables before freezing them is to trap in all those great healthy nutrients and prevent the vegetables from losing the their color and flavor while frozen. The following chart is courtesy of Ohio State University and illustrates blanching times for a variety of vegetables. All blanching times are for boiling water. After blanching, cool promptly in cold water and drain, unless otherwise noted.
Vegetable Blanching Times
VegetablePreparationBoiling Water Blanch Times
AsparagusLeave whole or cut into 2" lengthsSm. Stalks = 2
Med. Stalks = 3
Lg. Stalks = 4
Beans (podded)Snip tips and sort by size3
Beans (fresh lima)Shell and sortSm. Beans = 2
Med. Beans = 3
Lg. Beans = 4
BeetsRemove all but 2" of top.
Sm. Beets = Cook tender 25-30
Med. Beets = Cook tender 45-50
Chill and remove skins.
Broccoli/CauliflowerTrim. Separate into individual pieces.
Cut broccoli stalks lengthwise.
Soak for 1/2 hr. in salt brine to drive out insects.
Rinse and drain.
Brussels SproutsTrim. Soak 1/2 hr. in salt brine.
Rinse and drain.
Sm. Heads = 3
Med. Heads = 4
Lg. Heads = 5
CabbageDiscard coarse outer leaves.
Cut into wedges or shred coarsely.
Wedges = 3
Shredded = 1 1/2
CarrotsTrim and scrape.
Dice or slice 1/4" thick.
Cut Carrots = 3
Whole Carrots = 5
Sweet Corn
(on the cobb)
Husk, remove silk and trim ends.Sm. Ears(1 1/4" diam.) = 7
Med. Ears(1 1/4-1 1/2") = 9
Lg. Ears(over 1 1/2") = 11
Chill in ice water for as long as it takes to blanch or corn may become mushy.
Sweet Corn
Husk, remove silk and trim ends.Sm. Ears = 4
Med. Ears = 5
Lg. Ears = 6
Chill. Cut from cob.
KohlrabiCut off tops and roots.
Wash and peel bark.
Wash and slice 1/4" thick
dice into 1/2" cubes
or leave whole.
Cubes = 1
Slices = 2
Whole = 3
MushroomsTrim ends, sort by size.
Freeze small whole, larger ones, sliced.
To prevent discoloration
use 3 tsp. lemon juice
to 1 qt. water when blanching.
Whole = 4
Sliced = 3
OkraCut off stems without opening seed cells.Sm. Pods = 3
Lg. Pods = 4
(Green, English, Black-Eyed)
Shell small amounts at a time.Green/English = 1 1/2
Black-Eyed = 2
(Edible pod, Sugar, Chinese)
Remove stems, blossom ends, and any string.
Leave whole.
Sm. Pods = 1 1/2
Lg. Pods = 2
Remove stem and seeds.
Halve, chop, or cut into 1/2" rings or strips.
May be frozen without blanching.
Halves = 3
Strips/Rings = 2
Wash and peel or scrub.3-5 Min. depending on size.
Choose potatoes that have been cured for at least 1 week.
Sort to size and wash.
Cook until almost tender.
Cool at room temp., peel and cut into halves, slice, or mash.
Spinach and
Other Greens
Remove damaged leaves and tough stems.Collards = 3
Other = 2
Summer Squash and
Peel, cut into 1/2" slices3
Wash.Dip for 30 seconds.
Wash, sort, drain.
Cut into quarters.
Simmer 5-10 min.
Press through sieve.
Prepare as in juice.Cover and cook until tender
10-20 min.

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