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My copy of The New Food Lover's Companion (which I have found to be an indispensable reference for a huge number of culinary terms) reads as follows: Pages 488-89: parboil To partially cook food by boiling it briefly in water. Page 68: blanch To plunge food (usually vegetables and fruits) into boiling water briefly, then into cold water to stop ...


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Both involve boiling water, but there are a number of differences: blanching has two meanings -- it's mainly used when talking about setting (or enhancing) the color of vegetables, with minimal cooking (only the outermost layer is cooked). As such, it's typically only a few seconds to a minute dip in already boiling water, followed by a shock (dip in ice ...



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