Guide to Blanching Green Vegetables

Maintain a vibrant green hue and delicious crunch with this blanching technique from Deputy Food Director Whitney Wright.


At Southern Living, we like our food to look as good as it tastes, which is why we're big fans of blanching and shocking green vegetables. It's really easy to do. Here's how you do it. First, you wanna bring a big pot of water to boil. Once it comes up to a boil, you wanna add a lot of salt and when I say a lot, I kind of mean a lot. You really want the water to taste like seawater and that's because this is one of your only opportunities to really season the vegetables right off the bat when you're cooking them. So once your salted water comes to a rolling boil, you wanna take your green vegetables, I've got sugar snap peas, you wanna dump them in the water all at once, and you can give them a little stir to make sure the water is still boiling. While it's cooking, we're gonna prepare our ice bath. You wanna take a large bowl and fill it about halfway with ice and now we're gonna go fill it with cold water. And when you're cooking a smaller vegetable like the sugar snap peas or English peas, you wanna have a strainer handy. You can nestle it in the water. In this way, when you put the peas in the water, you can pull them out really easily and you won't have to fish through the ice cubes to get them. And you can see your green vegetables will turn bright green in the boiling water. Now, you wanna cook them 'til they're crisp tender and there are lots of different variations on cooking times for different vegetables but really the best way to tell is to test one. So, we're gonna fish out snap pea, put it in the water and touch it, they're perfect. So I'm gonna use a slotted spoon and take them all out of the boiling water and put them into my ice bath. And when you shock the vegetables with this cold water, it immediately stops the cooking process, which will keep them crisp and bright green. You're gonna let them sit in this ice bath until they're cool to touch. You see how cool the counters, you just yank it out there. And that's all there's to it and this is such a great technique because you can make these a day ahead and you can store them in the refrigerator overnight and they'll maintain their crisp texture and bright colors. For more cooking tips from our test kitchen, go to
Experience our exclusive vacation collection.