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The Cook's Illustrated How-to-Cook Library suggests blanching 3/4 lb baby carrots for crudités in boiling salted water until bright orange, about 15 s. I added a tablespoon of salt to almost four quarts of water and blanched almost 2 lb of baby-cut carrots for 15 s. They didn't change color in this time, but they seemed bright orange from the start. After shocking in ice water and draining, I tasted the blanched carrots against the original raw carrots. They tasted roughly the same. Maybe the blanched ones were slightly less bitter but I'm not sure I would consistently say that in a blind taste test. What difference in taste should I have noticed?

Did I do something wrong? Should I have left them in the boiling water for longer than 15 s? The National Center for Home Food Preservation suggests 5 min for small carrots, but that's for a freezing application rather than raw consumption.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

My guess is that you dropped 2lb of carrots into the water. This drops the water temperature under the boiling-simmering point. So, you're not blanching correctly. You should have taken about 3/4lb portions and blanched them successively. (Or you should have used more water on a bigger stove top.)

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The actual amount of vegetables you can blanch at ones depends on how big your pot is. The 3/4 lbs BaffledCook suggests are about correct for 4 quarts of water, but remember that it will vary with the pot you choose. Try to always have at least 10 times more water than vegetables (by weight), more is always better. –  rumtscho Dec 18 '11 at 16:34
    
What should it have tasted like? –  Michael Hoffman Dec 18 '11 at 17:14
    
You want a minimal change in flavor when compared to the raw vegetable. The texture should become much softer, but retain a trace of crispness, if it gets mushy, you've cooked it for too long. –  rumtscho Dec 18 '11 at 20:37
    
@rumtscho, thanks for the info. –  BaffledCook Dec 18 '11 at 23:16
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