Parboiling is a method of cooking, wherein the food is only partially done. The degree of parboiling depends on the type of food and the specific recipe. As compared to boiling, the duration of cooking is lesser in parboiling; but it takes longer than blanching or parblanching. Even though, blanching and parblanching are different from parboiling, all these terms are used interchangeably. There are various food recipes, that call for parboiled vegetables. Usually, parboiling is recommended for denser vegetables like potatoes and carrots.
Vegetables that are meant for canning and freezing, are parboiled to get rid of enzymes that cause their deterioration. Vegetables, like potatoes, carrots and cauliflower, take longer to cook. At the same time, there are vegetables that cook within a few minutes. Some recipes require both these types of vegetables to be cooked together. In that case, some of the vegetables remain half-cooked or overcooked. So as to avoid such problems, parboiling of the denser vegetables is recommended. Once done, they can be added to vegetables that take lesser time to cook. The partially done (parboiled) vegetables will get fully done, along with the other vegetables.
The same applies to roasting potatoes in whole. If you roast raw potatoes, either the inner portions remain uncooked; or the outer parts get burned, as you wait till the core is done. So, it is always better to parboil potatoes before roasting. Parboiling is also done to remove the skin of vegetables, like tomatoes.
Process of Parboiling
Parboiling is defined as partial cooking of food in boiling water. In order to parboil any vegetable, take enough water to immerse the vegetables and bring it to boil. Once the water boils, add the vegetables, and cook for a few minutes in boiling water. Another method is to put the vegetables in room temperature water and boil. This method may take longer, as compared to the former. The food should only be partially done and not overcooked. You can check the doneness by poking the vegetables with a fork. The outer parts of the vegetables must be soft with cooking. Once taken out of boiling water, the vegetable may cook for some more time. In order to prevent such further cooking, drain them right away.
How to Parboil Potatoes
You have to prepare the potatoes and immerse them in boiling water. Cook them for around ten minutes. If you take room temperature water, in order to boil the potatoes; wait till the water boils, and count the next ten minutes of full boil. How long to parboil potatoes? The time for parboiling is based on the size of the potatoes and the recipe you want to prepare. If you are using large potatoes, it may take ten minutes for boiling water method and 15 minutes for room temperature water. There are various factors that affect the cooking time in case of parboiling. So, it is always better to check the doneness in between. Once you remove the potatoes from heat, immerse them in cold water to hinder further cooking, or else drain the hot water. If you want to parboil potatoes in a microwave, all you have to do is to microwave them on high for around five minutes.
Parboiling is a simple method for cooking food partially. So, make use of these tips, the next time you come across recipes that need parboiled potatoes.