By Allrecipes Editors

It's shockingly easy

Blanching and shocking vegetables is how you partially cook and cool them quickly so they retain their color and crunch. You can use blanched vegetables in salads, pasta dishes, and as appetizers with dips. You might also blanch and shock raw vegetables before canning, or freezing. We'll show you how easy it is to do.

How to Blanch and Shock Vegetables in 4 Easy Steps

Blanching and shocking can be used to partially cook almost any vegetable. This video for Easy Broccoli Salad shows you the basic steps.

1. Prepare a pot of boiling water and an ice bath (a large bowl full of ice and water). You can add salt to the water if you wish — salt will permeate the outer walls of the vegetable being blanched and enhance the flavors — but salt also breaks down the vegetables over time and causes them to become mushy.

2. Place your vegetables into the boiling water, and keep the water at a consistent boil. Test the vegetables for doneness after a minute or so; vegetables should be tender but not mushy. To test larger vegetables like broccoli, insert a small sharp knife into the thick part of the stem. If the broccoli clings to the knife, it needs more time. If the knife slides in and out easily, the broccoli is ready to be shocked.

3. Once you have established that the vegetables are cooked, quickly remove them from the boiling water and plunge them into the ice bath (this act is called "shocking"). Immersing the vegetables in ice water will halt the cooking process completely.

4. Keep the vegetables in the ice water long enough for them to cool completely, then drain them well. If you remove the vegetables from the ice bath before they finish cooling, they will continue to cook from the inside out resulting in a mushy finished product.

These recipes and articles give you ideas for using your blanched produce: