“What on earth is blanching?”, you may be asking yourself. Well, blanching is the best thing ever. Let me explain. When I was little, I hated eating vegetables with a passion. I would rather eat dirt than broccoli. There was simply no logical way to get me to eat a single vegetable. I think the reason why I despised vegetables so much was that they looked absolutely disgusting. Sorry, mom!
Blanching is a cooking technique that will help you bring out vegetables’ natural beauty. You can then use them in salads, pastas, sides, soups etc. You can also freeze them. The possibilities are simply endless when you have handsome vegetables. Let’s get blanching, shall we?
You will need a big pot of boiling water, a slotted spoon and a big bowl of ice-cold water. Add your lovely vegetables to the pot of boiling water. Let them have a good time in there until they turn bright in colour. Once that happens, try one. It should be firm to the bite – not mushy or too crunchy. Take them out of the boiling water with the slotted spoon and place them right away in the icy water. Leave them in there for a few minutes. Fish them out and place them on paper towels to dry a little. From there, the food world is yours to conquer, my friend. Put them in ziplock bags if you’re planning on freezing them.
Easy, right? You can blanch pretty much any vegetable. It does work best on green veggies, though. However, don’t be scared to blanch carrots, corn kernels, pearl onions, etc. You can also blanch herbs. Fresh mint for mojitos, anyone?
When I was first introduced to this technique, I fell in love with it. Not only that, but I fell in love with vegetables all over again. I’m sure you will too.
This morning I realized something: prickly pears are not all that common. Yep. Why? I have no idea because they are absolutely delicious. I feel we can make prickly pears the new mango if we put our hearts into it. Let the exotic fruit revolution begin. Who’s with me?
As a kid, I remember eating them by the dozens until…ready? Until my mom told me a cactus was going to start growing in my tummy. I think that scarred me for life. This might not be making any sense to you right now so let me explain what a prickly pear is, exactly. A prickly pear is the fruit from a cactus. The cactus leaves are known as “nopal” and are edible too, but not as delicious.
The reason why this blog is called “One Prickly Pear” is because prickly pears bring back thousands of memories – not all of them good. Prickly pears have a tons of prickles. This only means that they have to be handled with care when peeling them. Yes, you need to peel them. Please, don’t ever try to eat its outer, thick skin. It will not end well, trust me on that one. Anyway, once you finally manage to peel them, they have tons of seeds embedded in their flesh sort of like guavas. So, prickly pears have all these flaws yet some people still find them absolutely irresistible. This only goes to teach us that regardless of your flaws, there will always be people who will find you unique and completely irresistible. Aw, thank you prickly pears of the world for the valuable life lesson.
Next time you spot a prickly pear at a supermarket or at a farmers’ market, give it a chance and take one home. You will not regret it. Or maybe you will if you’re not careful with those prickles. Either way, just remember that those seeds will not make a cactus grow inside of you. I’m living proof of it. So, eat as many as your heart desires.