This Simple Step Will Prevent Your Blanched Veggies From Wrinkling

Of all the cooking techniques in our kitchen arsenal, blanching is one that we don't necessarily bust out too often — but when we do, we want to do it right. What is blanching, you might ask? It's simply the process of boiling an ingredient — typically a vegetable — in salted hot water for a very short period of time, just long enough to cook the item all the way through. Typically, after blanching a veggie such as asparagus or green beans, we then transfer the ingredient to an ice bath, a process which stops the cooking process and keeps the vegetable crisp and green.

But as we recently discovered, there's one more step you can take to ensure that your blanched vegetables remain fresh and picture-perfect. It involves tossing your blanched items with a small amount of fat — and now that we know about this step, we won't skip it again. 

How to keep your blanched veggies wrinkle-free

If you're anything like us, you slather sunscreen on your face each morning — or at least before heading to the beach — to try to keep it free of wrinkles. But did you know that blanched vegetables are also prone to wrinkling? In an ancient-by-internet-standards YouTube video dating to 2010, Harold McGee, an expert on food science and chemistry and the author of books including "On Food and Cooking," cooks up a pot of blanched green beans. As he removes them from the hot water, he explains that since the vegetables are steaming, that means that they're losing moisture. 

And losing moisture means that the green beans might start to wrinkle up — an issue that won't affect their flavor or texture but which, if you're serving the vegetable to guests or sharing a picture of it on the 'gram, you might want to avoid. How to prevent the wrinkling? "Simply by coating them with something that's waterproof, and that's a little bit of oil or butter," McGee states. Tossing blanched asparagus or green beans, then, in a small amount of butter or any type of cooking oil will keep your veggies beautiful. It's a tip we'll remember the next time we want to share a pic of our Nicoise salad.