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To Blanch or Not to Blanch? The Truth About Blanching Vegetables

If you're someone who enjoys dehydrating vegetables, you might be wondering whether or not to blanch them before dehydrating. Blanching is the process of briefly boiling vegetables or fruits in water and then quickly cooling them in ice water. The idea is to stop enzyme activity that can cause the produce to deteriorate and lose color, texture, and flavor. However, not all produce needs to be blanched before dehydrating, and personal preferences play a role too.

As for potatoes, they can be a little tricky when it comes to dehydrating. Potatoes contain an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase that can cause them to turn brown during dehydration. Blanching potatoes can help to minimize this reaction, which can lead to better color and texture. To blanch potatoes, peel them, cut them into slices or chunks, and blanch them for 3-5 minutes in boiling water. Once they're blanched, you can dehydrate them as usual.

Onions, on the other hand, don't necessarily need to be blanched before dehydrating. They don't contain the same browning enzyme as potatoes, and their flavor and texture can hold up well without blanching. However, if you prefer a milder flavor in your dehydrated onions, you can blanch them for 3-5 minutes before dehydrating. To do so, peel the onions and cut them into slices or chunks, then blanch them in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Once they're blanched, you can dehydrate them as usual.

As for rhubarb, it's important to blanch it before dehydrating to prevent the loss of color and texture. Rhubarb contains an enzyme called oxalate oxidase that can cause it to turn brown during dehydration. To blanch rhubarb, wash and chop it into desired sizes, then blanch it in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Once it's blanched, you can dehydrate it as usual.

Here's a table with blanching times for some common vegetables:

Produce Blanching Time

Asparagus 2-4 minutes

Broccoli 3 minutes

Carrots 3-5 minutes

Cauliflower 3 minutes

Potatoes 3-5 minutes

Onions 3-5 minutes

Green beans 3 minutes

Mushrooms 3-5 minutes

Peppers 2-3 minutes

Rhubarb 1-2 minutes

Tomatoes 30 seconds

Zucchini 2-3 minutes

It's worth noting that over-blanching can cause the produce to become mushy and lose nutrients. Under-blanching, on the other hand, may not effectively stop enzyme activity. So, it's important to blanch the produce for the recommended time and then quickly cool them in ice water to stop the cooking process.

Whether or not to blanch produce before dehydrating depends on the type of produce, its enzyme activity, and your personal preferences. One rule of thumb is if you can eat it raw, you don't have to blanch. Potatoes, onions, and rhubarb have their own unique considerations when it comes to blanching, and it's important to follow the recommended blanching times for each product to ensure the best results. Experiment and decide for yourself what works best for you.

Basket of fresh vegetables
Blanching vegetables

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