What is Blanching?

When reading descriptions of garden seeds like cauliflower or celery, you might ask the question, “what is blanching?” You might see plants that say they are “self-blanching,” or you are supposed to blanch them.

In this case, we aren’t talking about cooking. Here, blanching refers to how vegetables are grown. In the garden, blanching means covering up and protecting parts of vegetable plants from the sun. Because too much sunlight can change the color and taste of some veggies, you need to make sure these vegetables are covered up to ensure best quality. For celery, this might mean covering the stalks with paper, or perhaps “hilling up” soil around the plant. For cauliflower, blanching means tying the leaves up to protect the head.

Some varieties are “self-blanching,” meaning they take care of blanching on their own and don’t need intervention. Look for these types if you don’t want to deal with the extra effort of covering plants yourself.

Blanching certain vegetables isn’t required to grow them of course, but you will probably find improved flavor and appearance if you do blanch.

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