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Culinary definition of ice:  To chill or remove heat through the addition of or immersion into shaved or cubed ice, or to place food in the freezer to set or firm up quickly.   Also, to spread dessert items with frosting, ie: icing.

blanching spinach 225x325Ice baths are used to arrest the cooking process of foods, especially vegetables.  Blanched asparagus, beans, carrots, etc., are those that have been dropped quickly but briefly into boiling water, then removed with a slotted spoon or sieve and plunged immediately into generously iced water.  The contrast stops the cooking and shocks the food into maintaining or elevating its brilliant colour.  See also Blanch

Be sure to use plenty of ice when blanching larger quantities, because the water heats up quickly as it takes heat from the food.  Using plenty of ice cools foods faster and affords more control over doneness.  Be sure that you don't heat up (and render useless) the ice water bath by adding too much boiling water to it with the fruit or vegetables.  First strain the food well - particularly leafy items like spinach etc - then add to ice water.  A common mistake is to pour the food and the hot water directly into the ice bath.   See correct technique above.

The general rule of thumb for blanching peaches and tomatoes in an ice bath for peeling is to first cut a shallow X in the skin of the fruit (opposite to stem end - serrated knife works well), then immerse ripe fruit in boiling water for 45-60 seconds (depending on ripeness; until the skin splits at X). Remove quickly and immerse in iced water to arrest cooking.  Remove from water, drain and peel.  Re-blanche if needed.

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