Easy Tips For Boiling, Blanching And Stewing Your Food

Boiling is a method of cooking by complete immersion of food in water or stock at 100C. It is most commonly used to cook vegetables.

Principles

1.Root vegetables must be started in cold water so as to leach out acrid flavours and certain chemicals that the raw vegetables contain. They may be covered with a lid during cooking. Salt should be added when the vegetables reach the boil.

2.Green and leaf vegetables must be started in boiling salted water and the water returned to the boil as soon as possible. They may be covered with a lid until boiling point is reached but then should be cooked with the lid off to prevent loss of colour.

3.Water lost by evaporation must be replaced in order to keep the food covered.

4.Any scum that rises must be removed.

5.The cooking liquid must be drained away the moment the food is cooked and the food refreshed in cold water; otherwise the cooking process will continue.

6.Pickled meat must be started in cold water to remove excess salt. Herbs and spices may be added to the liquid to improve flavour.

Parboiling means that the food is not more than half cooked by boiling in salted water. Cooking is completed by another method such as roasting (potatoes) or braising (celery).

BLANCHING

This post is just following on from basic principles of boiling food, to blanch means to subject food to the action of boiling water or hot frying medium for a short period of time.

Often food that has been blanched is immediately refreshed: that is, the temperature of the food is lowered as quickly as possible in order to stop the cooking process. Place the food under cold running water or immerse in iced water.

Blanching is used for a number of reasons:-

1.To set meat so that the blood albumin does not make a cloudy stock or sauce.

2.To rid vegetables such as fennel and witlof of a bitter taste.

3.To shorten cooking times.

4.To peel vegetables, fruits and nuts. Plunge them into boiling water for about 10 seconds and refresh so that the skins can be removed easily. Examples are tomatoes and almonds.

To blanch food prior to cooking, put the food in a saucepan and cover with cold water. When nearly boiling, remove the scum. Bring to the boil and as soon as boiling point is reached, remove the saucepan from the heat and drain away the water. Refresh immediately if directed in the recipe.

To blanch deep-fried potatoes, cook them in hot fat until they are cooked but not coloured.

SIMMERING

Simmering requires careful setting of the heat to maintain a temperature of 95-99C. This temperature is reached when gentle currents can be seen in the liquid, or small bubbles are just breaking the surface. Careful simmering is required for making consomme and for the despumation of sauces. To cook at this temperature it is usual to bring the contents of the saucepan to the boil and immediately lower the heat to a suitable setting.

Principles

1.The liquid must not move rapidly enough to break up the solid food in the saucepan.

2.The ingredients are allowed to cook without rapid evaporation of moisture. The saucepan is usually covered.

3.Simmering allows any scum to rise so that it can be skimmed off.

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About The Author,
Mick Reade has been working as a chef in Australia for over 10 years, in a variety of different types of kitchens all across the country, and now helps teach others how easy it can be to cook healthy delicious food. For a free cookbook, check out alleasyfoodrecipes.com