Blanching is a way of quickly precooking greens, removing their raw taste, and keeping the green color. It’s also a way of softening a vegetable or fruit so that it can be peeled — about tomatoes and peaches. To blanch something, drop it into a large quantity of boiling salted water and cook it briefly — depending on what you’re cooking and whether or not you’ll be cooking it again, you might keep the ingredient in the pot for as little as 30 seconds or for as long as a couple of minutes. Immediately after blanching, the ingredient is “shocked” — dunked into a bowl of ice water or rinsed under cold water, to stop the cooking and, in some cases, set the color. I was a reluctant blancher for much of my adult life. And then one day I took the extra few minutes needed to blanch basil before turning it into pesto, saw how it kept its vibrant color, and I became a convert.

Dorie Greenspan