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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

How Long Do You Blanch Sweet Potatoes?



These potatoes are ready for a quick blanch!
These potatoes are ready for a quick blanch!

Sweet potatoes are a known superfood. If healthy eating is your thing, then you likely understand the greatness of this root vegetable. It is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates.

The abundance of vitamin C helps to reduce flu and cold symptoms, and vitamin D promotes healthy bone development as well as maintaining healthy bone density. If you eat a lot of sweet potatoes you’re probably constantly trying to find new and creative ways to add sweet potatoes to your meals. One of the methods used is blanching.

But you want to know:

“How long do I blanch them?”

While there’s a lot to know about blanching and how to do it right, the answer is between 3 and 5 minutes. Now let’s learn just what blanching is and how to do it. I’ll also tell you my favorite reason for blanching sweet potatoes. And it’s delicious.

What is blanching?

The meaning of blanching something is to whiten it, however, when it comes to cooking that is not the case. Blanching foods in the kitchen is usually done with vegetables, and basically, you cook the vegetable (sometimes this is called scalding) in boiling water for a few minutes.

Once it has partially cooked, you take the vegetable out of the boiling water and “shock” it, either by running the veggies under cold water or by putting them into freezing water.

No time to blanch? Here’s how to cook a sweet potato in the microwave.

Why is blanching done?

This lets you prolong the lifespan of the sweet potato, making it very useful for salads and even for freezing. While 3 to 5 minutes is a good rule of thumb, the amount of time you want to blanch them is dependent upon how many you have.

As I said earlier, the amount of time that you blanch your potato will vary depending on the amount you have in the pot and the type of cut you made and the size of the cut. For example, thick slices of sweet potato will need more time in the boiling water then julienne cuts will. And a large number of potatoes in your stockpot will take longer than just a few.

How to blanch your sweet potatoes

Blanching is a cooking method that any chef (professional or home) should learn to do. It is an excellent way to pre-cook your potatoes to finish later and is a good first step when freezing. You will need a few things to start off with to blanch, and they are:

  • Ice Water
  • Pot
  • Salt
  • Large bowl
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Plate and paper towels

Cut and boil

The first step is to bring the water in your pot to a rolling boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil, begin cutting the potatoes. Make sure to keep them the same size so they can cook evenly.

This RSVP blanching basket from Amazon will make everything easier!

RSVP Endurance 9 Inch Wide Rim Mesh Basket

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Salt for flavor and color retention

Just before you put the potatoes in the boiling water, put a good amount of salt in the pot (this helps to make sure the potatoes do not discolor and contributes to the flavor). Leave the potatoes in the boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes.

Farberware Classic Series 11 Quart Stockpot with Glass Lid

This Farberware pot from Amazon is one of our favorites for blanching vegetables.

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Test and plunge

Once you have reached the 3-minute mark, taste one to see how tender it has become. Once they have been partially cooked, meaning tender but not mushy and soft, you should quickly remove them from the boiling water and place them in a bowl of ice water.

These Pyrex bowls from Amazon should do the trick!

Pyrex Glass Mixing Bowl Set (3-Piece Set, Nesting, Microwave and Dishwasher Safe)

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You do this step because it stops the cooking process in its tracks. If you neglect to shock the potatoes, they will continue cooking even several minutes after you have removed them from the boiling water.

Cool and dry

Once they have completely cooled off, you can remove them from the ice water and place them on a plate with dry paper towels. Dry them off, and you are finished blanching your sweet potatoes.

Pyrex Simply Store Meal Prep Glass Food Storage Containers (6-Piece Set, BPA Free Lids, Oven Safe)

I like these Pyrex containers from Amazon for storing blanched veggies in the freezer.

View on Amazon

Why blanching is awesome

If you are like 90% of the population, then you are rushed throughout the week, whether it’s work, school, or kids you always have something going on. This lack of time probably gets in the way of you cooking balanced meals for you and your family (an overwhelming number of Americans say the reason they eat out so much is for convenience).

Well, blanching vegetables is an excellent way to drastically cut down your cook time. Generally, vegetables are the part of the meal that takes the longest. Try blanching your sweet potatoes on one of your off days. It doesn’t take that much time to do, and it can save you a whole bunch of preparation time when you get home and have to cook dinner.

Sweet. Crispy. Delicious. And made even better by fry-blanching.
Sweet. Crispy. Delicious. And made even better by fry-blanching.

Sweet potato fries anyone?

My favorite use of the blanching technique is for sweet potato french fries. This is done a little bit differently.

T-fal Deep Fryer with Basket, Stainless Steel, Easy to Clean Deep Fryer, Oil Filtration, 2.6-Pound, Silver, Model FR8000

Don’t have a deep fryer? Amazon has a cool one from T-Fal.

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Turn your deep fryer to 260º and toss your sweet potato cuts in there for 5 minutes (make sure you let the oil heat up to 260 first). Once you pull them out of the oil, turn your deep fryer up to 360º and finish off the french fries. The way to tell your fries have finished cooking is simple, if they are floating, they are finished.

Wrap – Up

Blanching vegetables can be a great way to incorporate vegetables in your daily meals. It lets you prepare them for freezing for later use. And when you blanch potatoes earlier in the week, they’ll be ready to cook up in no time on busy weeknights.

Sweet potatoes are a prime candidate for blanching, so combining the convenience of cooking blanched veggies, and the numerous benefits of sweet potatoes (not to mention the amazing taste) is a no-brainer.

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