Peas – To Blanch or Not to Blanch

In 33 years of freezing food from the garden I have, until last year, always blanched peas before freezing.

What is Blanching and What Does it Do?

Blanching is heating or scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short period of time.

It is said to slow or stop the action of enzymes which causes loss of color, flavor and texture. It also cleans the surface of dirt and organisms and brightens the color.

Oddly enough blanching is also said to help retard loss of vitamins. I say “oddly” because heat kills most vitamins. And if they are water soluble vitamins they end up in the water rather than the freezer package with the peas. So – I don’t know how “they” came up with that piece of info.

Save your Vitamins!

Rich in protein and carbohydrates but low in fats, peas are loaded with minerals and vitamins like Vitamin A, C and thiamin. If you feel like I do, you probably don’t want to loose any more of those than you have to.

When I cook peas, whether fresh or frozen, I add just the slightest amount of water before cooking.  When they’re finished cooking there’s no water —- just hot peas that taste wonderful.

Time Saver

Primarily in the interest of time, last year I decided to freeze my peas without blanching. The pods are clean when I bring them in from the garden. I shell them within a couple of hours; inspect them for any debris; then freeze immediately.

One Year – Results good

The peas used this winter that were frozen without blanching were delicious.  They tasted just like peas right from the garden.  And I noticed no change in color or texture.

All the peas that I freeze in a season are used within a year. I feel that most things loose quality anyway after a year even if they are still usable.

Personal Decision

The decision to blanch or not to blanch peas is one each individual has to make based on his or her situation.

As for me, I’ll freeze peas without blanching.


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45 comments to Peas – To Blanch or Not to Blanch

  • Beppy

    Makes sense to me. I like that idea.

  • Theresa

    I think you’ll like it even more once you see the results, Beppy.

    Thanks for commenting and for reading. 8)

  • Faye Shores

    Yes, you see that same snippet about blanching before freezing almost everywhere. It’s a blending of several different facts, and is misleading the way it’s usually presented. Here are the facts separated.

    Blanching does stop the process of vitamin degradation that occurs as a vegetable ages. So, if you have a fresh vegetable that you’re not going to eat soon, blanching it saves a bit of vitamin content. At the same time, however, it also destroys a percentage of the water soluble vitamins such as vitamin C which is reduced by about 25%. It turns out that thoroughly freezing the same vegetable also stops the process of vitamin degradation, and does so with minimal damage. So, all things being equal, freezing retains more vitamins than blanching and freezing.

    The other reasons for blanching are not nutrition related and include reasons such as achieving a firmer texture after cooking the frozen vegetable. The more liquid a vegetable naturally contains, the greater this need is. Luckily, shelling peas low enough liquid and freeze/unfreeze beautifully without blanching.

  • VelDean

    Have you tried freezing corn without blanching? I have wondered if that would work as well as it does with the peas. By the way I have frozen asparagus without blanching and it works well also.

  • Theresa

    No, Vel, I have not tried corn without blanching, but have known people who have and said it was fine.
    Thanks for the benefit of your experience with asparagus. I’ll try that next year.

  • Robert

    Over the last ten years I have never blanched Sweet corn or anything else for that matter.
    The taste up to a year in the freezer is like they have been freshly picked,hope we get some this year!?

  • Theresa

    Thanks for the input Robert. This will be of interest to many — including myself.

  • Missy

    I have chosen not to blanch this year as it seems to me that the taste of the corn changes slightly and isn’t quite as sweet. I don’t blanch very long at all but it stands to reason it does make minor changes. The corn is to be cooked in some form eventually anyway.

  • Theresa

    Thanks for your input Missy.

  • Steve

    Thanks for posting this I am not going to blanch any peas this year. As far as blanching goes in general I wonder if we really need to blanch anything? No need to blanch the sweet corn Vel I never do and it tastes wonderful.

  • Theresa

    Hi Steve — Thanks for the benefit of your experience about corn.
    I think I would blanch things like broccoli, cabbage, spinach and things like that. I don’t think those veggies would taste very good without blanching.
    If you ever try those without blanching, let me know what you think.
    Thanks for commenting.

  • Umar

    Then what is the actual effect of blanching on peas.

  • Umar

    Wt hapn 2 it aftr blanchng.

  • Theresa

    Umar – please reread the part about Blanching and What Does It Do.
    If you need even more details you might want to do some research by googling.

  • Leisha CArr

    Do you add water to the bags or just the peas?

  • Theresa

    Just the peas Leisha. :)

  • john

    Anyone do this with dry ice? Seems as if maybe I saw Alton Brown do this on his show…

  • Mary Fisher

    I’ve never frozen peas before but this morning picked far more from our garden than we could use in a day so I podded half, put them into a freezer bag, labelled them and they’re now in the frozen vegetable drawer.

    It’ so good to read your experience! Every time I’ve blanched any vegetable for freezing it’s ended up soggy no matter how much I try to dry it before packing. It’s good to know that it CAN be done without all that wet.

    What’s more, I’ve never believed all that guff about blanching either, since I was taught it sixty years ago :-) It didn’t make sense even to a teenager.

  • Theresa

    Hi Mary,

    I think the main purpose behind blanching most veggies before freezing is to stop the enzyme action which is suppose to cause undesirable changes in flavor, texture and color as well as loss of vitamins A and C.

    I guess we can take scientist’s word for that, but I like you –do not enjoy most frozen vegetables because — as you said — they end up soggy no matter what you do — before and after freezing. Also — most don’t taste so good — once they’re reheated and served.

    I’ve heard of folks freezing corn in the husk and having it taste just like fresh corn. (No blanching again.)

    Also — I’ve know folks who freeze whole tomatoes — no blanching. (Takes too much room for me — so I make quick oven roasted tomato sauce and then freeze.)

    I freeze some onions (chopped) — no blanching — for winter cooking –

    Thanks to another reader’s suggestion — I’m going to quarter and freeze a few cucumbers for use in smoothies. — no blanching of course

    All my fruit —blueberries, strawberries, figs, blackberries — no blanching.

    Peppers — no blanching. I use for winter cooking.

    Herbs – chopped and mixed with a little olive oil — no blanching.

    When I make zucchini milk and freeze — I don’t blanch the zucchini first.

    And I know you will enjoy the peas — they stay just like fresh from the garden peas!

    After this reply to you — I’m starting to wonder if I should blanch anything!

    Nice to have you reading Mary.

  • Sonya

    Peas are enough work without adding in blanching….I’m going to try freezing without blanching this year. I do use a vacuum sealer though, and I find this makes a huge difference in the quality of the food. As for corn, we have frozen corn on the cob both ways, with blanching and without. We prefer NOT blanching. the blanched cobs had an odd texture, a bit mushy.
    Then we tried leaving on the inner leaves, vaccuum packing, and freezing (not blanching) with very good results. It’s not fresh, but it’s pretty darn close, and fun to have in dec!

  • Theresa

    Thanks for the input Sonya.
    I’m sure vacuum sealing makes a difference. I take the air out of my zip lock bags with a straw and I think even that makes a big difference.

  • Lesley

    Thanks for the feedback. I can never remember to blanch or not blanch and quite frankly haven’t noticed a different taste when I “wing it”.
    No blanching it is!

  • Jennifer

    I tried freezing green beans last year without blanching and I will NEVER blanch a bean again. This year, I am trying it on my peas.

    The one little thing I do different is I pat mine dry and put them in an cotton pillowcase and toss in the freezer. They end up loose and frozen individually, you just reach in and grab a handful as needed.

  • Theresa

    Great input Jennifer! Thanks.

  • Theresa

    Before going all out and freezing all my green beans and lima beans without blanching — I did a small test.

    Froze a small package of green beans and a small package of lima beans. Then the next week had them for dinner. Placed the frozen beans in pan, added just enough water to cook, and cooked for 20 minutes.

    Both the lima and green beans were great!
    No more blanching for me!

  • Anna

    I’ve tried both, and believe that if I am going to eat the food within a year, blanching is unnecessary….and nothing lasts more than a year. I hate blanching, a lot of work on top of the work it already takes to grow the food. But, with that said, I do think blanching brassicas is a good idea as it they can go skunky. I do it with kales, collards, turnip greens, etc.

  • Theresa

    Good input Anna. Thanks.

  • Ann Marie

    so glad to hear about no blanching! The green beans we blanched last year were rubbery. what a waste. I’m excited and we bought vacuum sealer, it’s really worth it.

  • Theresa

    Hi Ann Marie,
    Peas are great with no blanching.
    I tried string beans with no blanching last year. They are better than with blanching, I will say that. But you still don’t get that fresh from the garden taste like you do with peas.
    By February I was so starved for garden stuff that I ate with relish the green beans that I had frozen last year. Bill (my husband) would still not eat them. Said they’re not as rubbery as when blanched, but just can’t compare to garden fresh!

    PS. It’s great you have a vacuum sealer! I use a straw, which does the job most of the time.

  • Shirley

    Thanks, I am freezing peas. Saves time by not blancing.
    I froze cabbage for soups & never blance it. Great in soups.

  • Theresa

    Good to know about the cabbage Shirley. Thanks.

  • Kevin

    Theresa, I want to try this approach of not blanching. Can you tell me the steps you take to freeze them? Is this right: Rinse them with running faucet water and pat them dry with a towel, then pour them into freezer bags and remove the extra air with a straw as you zip the bags shut and then place them in the freezer?

    Thanks! It’s these little steps I don’t feel sure about as a novice.

  • Theresa

    You’re right on target Kevin.
    A few suggestions: Where I live, I would not use water out of the faucet to rinse my peas. I’d used distilled water or water that I felt was free of poisons. Some people have filters that take all the poisons out of faucet water.

    Most times, my peas are so clean when I bring them in, I don’t even rinse after shelling. I realize most people will want to, but I don’t.

  • Kevin

    Very helpful. Thanks, Theresa!

  • Theresa

    You are welcome Kevin. You’ll be amazed at how much the unblanched peas taste like fresh from the vine peas.

  • Debbie

    Thanks for this info. I’m excited to just throw my peas in the freezer as-is! I also vacuum seal fruits and veggies and wanted to add one recommendation- we always freeze first (often on trays to keep things from freezing together), then vacuum seal- that way things don’t get crushed in the vacuuming process.

  • Theresa

    Thanks for the additional input Debbie.

  • Tammy

    I am new to this. When you say shell the peas are you getting rid of the pods? I find the pods have a lot of taste. I also am looking for info on Asian green beans. These beans are similar to your average green bean but grow to 26″ in length. I heard they are good for stir fry. This is something I would like to try. I have these beans in my garden at this time along with the regular green beans. If you could give me some insight to these questions it would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely,

  • Theresa

    Tammy, some peas like Sugar Snaps or snow peas have edible pods. Other peas like English shell peas have pods that are discarded and the peas are eaten.

    I don’t grow the long Asian beans. Most all beans are best when picked young. If you allow them to over grow they’re usually a bit tough.

    Hope this helps.

  • john

    I think what you are referring to as asian beans are yard long beans. I’ve been growing these for years. Lately I’ve been growing the type called red noodle with red beans. I think they taste great and you don’t have to pick as many for dinner. BUT, don’t let them get too big. I try to pick them before they are more than 18 inches. Otherwise they get tough and the beans inside get too large and mealy. Also don’t plant them as heavy as you would regular beans. At least 6 inches between beans/seeds and they need something large to climb on, the vines are huge. They take longer than regular beans to bloom and get beans but they are worth the wait.

  • Theresa

    Great input John! Thanks for taking time to let everyone benefit from you experience.

  • Lindsey G

    Hi there,

    I’m wondering if you can freeze snow peas whole without blanching too?

  • Theresa

    They would be a bit different than shelled peas because they have the pod.
    You try a package unblanched as test, Lindsey.
    I think I’d prefer to blanch the snow peas even if only for a minute.

  • laura

    I have froze cauliflower and broccoli, all we do is cut to meal size wash and dry then straight into freezer taste is no different than coming straight out of garden

  • Theresa

    Bet it’s delicious! Thanks for the input Laura.

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