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-   -   Why do we have to blanch veggies before freezing or dehydrating them>>>? (http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/forum/preserving-harvest/7874-why-do-we-have-blanch-veggies-before-freezing-dehydrating-them.html)

Equilibrium 12-15-2010 12:41 AM

Why do we have to blanch veggies before freezing or dehydrating them>>>?
 
Why do we have to blanch veggies before freezing or dehydrating them>>>? So we don't poison ourselves!!! That's why!!!
I wanted to skip that blanching step real bad since I'm sorta lazy by nature…. I was going to but figured maybe I better poke around. Simple answer- for food safety!!! This is what I found, Blanch Vegetables Before Freezing, “Blanching is the scalding of vegetables in boiling water or steam. Blanching slows or stops the action of enzymes. Up until harvest time, enzymes cause vegetables to grow and mature. If vegetables are not blanched, or blanching is not long enough, the enzymes continue to be active during frozen storage causing off-colors, off-flavors and toughening.

If you spend the time growing the vegetables, pulling weeds, picking and preparing for the freezer, the blanching time may be regarded as a pain - but it’s necessary if you want fresh garden flavor later.

Blanching time is crucial and varies with the vegetable and size of the pieces to be frozen. Under-blanching speeds up the activity of enzymes and is worse than no blanching. Over-blanching causes loss of flavor, color, vitamins and minerals.

The most convenient way to blanch vegetables is in a large kettle of boiling water. Allow one gallon of water per pound of vegetables. Bring the water to boil and lower vegetables into the water, allowing the water to continue boiling. Cover and start counting the blanching time.and How to Blanch Vegetables for Freezing, “When the water in food freezes, it stops much of the cellular activity that normally causes spoiling. But there are certain enzymes in vegetables that can continue their nefarious deeds in the quiet and dark of the freezer. Blanching — either steaming or boiling the food briefly — destroys the enzymes that cause the loss of nutritional value and flavor. Onions, peppers, and herbs do not need to be blanched. Squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin should be fully cooked before freezing. All other vegetables should be blanched.” That site has a fantastic… easy to follow… blanching for dummies guide to boiling and steaming times. These 2 sites had the simplest explanations for why nobody should skip the blanching process whether we’re freezing or dehydrating our veggies.

Equilibrium 12-15-2010 12:48 AM

There’s more info on blanching here, National Center for Home Food Preservation | Freezing FAQs but…. for some reason they don’t cover dehydration of food which I’m learning is superior to more traditional canning methods because the temps at which food is dehydrated aren’t nearly as high. Less enzymes are destroyed at lower temps and water soluble vitamins and minerals aren’t leached out during the dehydration process as they are using a hot water bath canner or pressure canner. Evidently when food is heated above 120° internally…. a lot of the nutritional value we’re trying to hang onto is lost. Dehydrated veggies retain more nutritional value and blanching before dehydrating gets rid of the "ickie" enzymes and reduces the loss of vitamins A, C, and thiamine too. If anyone's got any more questions.... better hunt down hazelnut. I thought I was sharing something really new and exciting with her and.... she knew it all off the top of her head.

havalotta 12-15-2010 02:16 AM

I've always blanched veggies before freezing. It preserves their cellular structure but I've never heard of blanching them before dehydrating.....seems a bit counterproductive.

Equilibrium 12-15-2010 02:30 AM

I was thinking the same way you were until I started "diggin in" and found countless references to having to blanch almost all veggies except onions, squash, and pumpkins before freezing or dehydrating for the exact same reasons.... food safety. I decided not to skip the process. hazelnut can definitely explain better than me.

maricybele 12-15-2010 05:01 AM

Just my humble opinion, sanitizing foods before storing is for big corporations. I know my homegrown produce I can eat right off the vine. I keep the vegetable as natural as possible. I freeze grapeleaves and I find they do better when they are washed dryed and placed in freezer, if I preblanch them, they lose more texture. I dehydrate often and don't blanch anything before hand, I couldn't imagine that. I want to keep as many enzymes as I can. I love fermentation bacteria its supposed to be more healthful. It's like making fermented sauekraut and dill pickles and then cooking em. Fements and dehydrating have been around for thousands of years. I think blanching not that long.

havalotta 12-15-2010 11:19 AM

What do you use grape leaves for...Besides Rolling food in or adding to pickle brine

maricybele 12-15-2010 04:02 PM

Exactly! I make rice stuffed grapeleaves, I roll seasoned hamburger in em and grill them, I also put them at the bottom of pickle brine and especially my sauerkraut ferments.

havalotta 12-15-2010 06:13 PM

That's about all I could think of using them for... Like cabbage rolls but more stable for grilling purposes.

Equilibrium 12-18-2010 04:44 AM

How long can you store your dehydrated veggies for? I mean like what's the longest they've ever been on a shelf or in a freezer before you used em? My take on the blanching was that veggies were only boiled or steamed long enough to deactivate the endogenous catalase and peroxidase enzymes responsible for food spoilage without affecting the nutritional value but... I only started looking into this when I ran across some info on how nutritional value was pretty much destroyed when using a high pressure canner soooo.... you're probably right and blanching was probably a BigCorp "discovery" to extend shelf lifes of frozen and canned foods. I've only been playing with this for a coupla weeks and I definitely need to learn more since I think you've nailed it that blanching isn't gonna be necessary if we're storing veggies in a freezer and planning on using them within 12 months. I'm thinking blanching might be necessary if we're looking toward long term storage though.

hazelnut 12-18-2010 11:33 AM

I understand that most vegetables should be blanched before dehydrating. Vegetables contain 'spoilage enzymes' that need to be neutralized before they are prepared for storage. The flavors may be off if you try to skip this step. This is another reason for preserving the food as soon as possible after it is picked. It should be fresh.

The best way to blanch is have smething like a fry basket and dip them in boiling water until the color brightens. Usually 1 to 3 minutes for a small batch is sufficient.

Mushrooms, onions, & tomatoes don't need to be blanched.

As for storing dehydrated vegetables, I would make sure you have a packing date on the package and try to use them up within a year.

In my area the main deterrent to storage are the little weevils that get in the packages. They seem even to invade glass jars that are not vacuum sealed. So I keep all my dehydrated products in the freezer in a tray so they don't get lost in the shuffle. I usually pack them in heavy duty freezer grade ziplocks.


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