A blancher pot is a kitchen tool which is designed to facilitate the blanching of vegetables and fruits. Typically, a blancher pot is designed for stove top use, and consists of three parts: a pot, a blanching tray, and a lid. Using a blancher pot can make blanching much easier, and also ensures even exposure of fruits and vegetables to the water or steam in which they are being blanched. Many kitchen supply stores sell blancher pots, which are also useful for other kitchen tasks.
When foods are blanched, they are lightly cooked to preserve their color, flavor, and texture. Blanched foods are often frozen for later use, or added to dishes at the last minute. Blanching ensures that the foods will be fully cooked, and that they will stay crispy and colorful in the finished dish. Blanching is also used to loosen the skins of things like tomatoes, almonds, and beans, making them much easier to skin.
Blanching is a two step process. First, the vegetables are dunked into a pot of boiling water for several minutes, or steamed for a longer period. The exact time required for this stage of blanching varies, but when the fruit is almost cooked and still crisped, it is done. Next, the food is dunked into an ice-water bath to “shock” it, bringing the cooking process to a halt.
By using a blancher pot, you can ensure maximum utilization of the pot space. The foods being blanched can be easily loaded into the steam tray, making it very easy to pull them in and out of the water. The tray typically has holes to let water or stream through, which means that the blanched food can also be easily drained. A blancher pot can also be used to steam foods ranging from lobster to artichokes.
There are two basic variations on the blancher pot design. One uses a folding tray which can be inserted inside the pot, which is filled with varying levels of water, depending on whether the cook wants to steam or boil the vegetables. The other type of blancher pot has a stacking design, in which the blanching tray hooks over the top of the pot. The lid is placed on top of the pot for blanching to promote even cooking. Some cooks prefer a blancher pot with a glass lid, so that they can see the foods being blanched inside.