Nearly all vegetables must be blanched before drying. Blanching—a brief heat treatment—stops the action of enzymes, those catalysts for chemical change present in all foods. If certain enzymes aren't deactivated before vegetables are dried, the flavor and color of the food will be destroyed. The drying process alone isn't enough to stop enzyme activity.

Although blanching can also help seal in nutrients, some other water-soluble nutrients are leached out into the cooking water. You may want to steam blanch your vegetables; it takes a bit longer, but won't lead to as great a loss of nutrients.

Always follow the blanching times given in the recipes exactly. Overblanching will result in the loss of vitamins and minerals; underblanching won't do the job of stopping enzyme action. Either way, you'll end up with an inferior product.

Boiling water blanching. Heat one gallon of water to boiling in a blancher. Put no more than one pound or four cups of prepared vegetables at a time into the blancher's insert, colander, or strainer, and carefully lower it into boiling water for the time given in the recipe.

Steam blanching. Pour enough water into the blancher to cover the bottom, but not touch the insert. Heat to boiling. Arrange the prepared vegetables in a single layer in the blancher's insert; put them in the blancher over boiling water, cover tightly, and steam for the time given in the recipe. You can use any large pot or kettle for steam blanching by putting a rack about three inches above the bottom to hold the vegetables in the steam and up out of the boiling water. You may also wish to put the vegetables in a cheesecloth bag to keep the pieces together during blanching.

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Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.

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