Definition of blanch in English:



  • 1Make white or pale by extracting colour.

    ‘the cold light blanched her face’
    • ‘The grey of the last forty eight hours had blanched it silver.’
    • ‘It blanches the complexion to think that this sort of thing could be going on in ‘civilized’ society in modern times.’
    • ‘Her tan skin was blanched and she quivered slightly.’
    • ‘The wind blew, chilling their coffee and blanching their faces.’
    • ‘The glare of the flash blanches some faces, while others are obscured by the frame's edges.’
    make pale, turn pale, whiten, make pallid, turn pallid, lighten, grey, wash out, fade, blench, etiolate, decolorize, bleach, peroxide
    pale, become pale, go pale, grow pale, turn pale, become white, go white, grow white, turn white, whiten, become pallid, go pallid, grow pallid, turn pallid, lose its colour, lighten, bleach, fade, blench
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    1. 1.1 Whiten (a plant) by depriving it of light.
      ‘blanch endive by covering plants with large flowerpots’
      • ‘This encourages the growth of the stems, blanches them from green to white, and improves the flavour.’
      • ‘If you like a lot of white on your leeks, you can simply mound the soil up a little higher on the stalk to blanch more of it.’
      • ‘Inner leaves can be blanched - simply tie the head loosely with string once the heart begins to form.’
      • ‘When seedlings are 10 to 12 inches tall, hill up the soil around the plant bases to blanch the stems.’
      • ‘The traditional way to blanch asparagus is to mound mulch or sand around the spears as they emerge.’
      • ‘Planting leeks deep in the soil blanches them, shielding the shanks from the sun and keeping them white, tender, and sweet.’
      • ‘Broad-leafed endive, which is often blanched by putting a box over the plant, is called ‘escarole’ in the USA.’
      • ‘According to him, ‘In Europe the farmers throw dirt around the asparagus in order to blanch it.’’
      • ‘Plant according to directions, and when the bulb that forms at the base of the leaf begins to swell, pull earth around it to blanch the stalks.’
      • ‘Some growers will blanch shanks by gradually mounding soil around the base of the plants as they grow, similar to what is done with leeks.’
  • 2no object Flinch or grow pale from shock, fear, or a similar emotion.

    ‘he visibly blanched at this reminder of mortality’
    • ‘Her pale face blanched even more at his suggestion and she backed up until her back was flush to the wall.’
    • ‘Her face had blanched when her sister had taunted her that the two of them should marry.’
    • ‘We only had $5000 in the bank at the time, so when we told our architect he blanched a little, but then admitted he had started much the same way himself.’
    • ‘He blanched a moment, stumbling back to his chair, then sat, a faint smile on his face.’
    • ‘I saw Mike's parents look at me oddly; his mother seemed to be blanching with fear of what I was going to say.’
    • ‘She blanched with fear, as though her worst fears stood incarnate before her.’
    • ‘He blanched a little, and looked pointedly away, sitting a bit straighter.’
    • ‘The five remaining men blanched and trembled with fear as they were faced with something beyond their reckoning.’
    • ‘Some of the proposals range from 20 to 30 percent and people blanch at the thought of paying that much.’
    • ‘I looked down towards the first row of seats and blanched at the blood stains on the artificial leather.’
    • ‘Many journalists would have blanched at the idea.’
    • ‘She blanched, turning first white, then a brilliant red.’
    • ‘About halfway through the motion, though, he gasped and blanched a little with pain.’
    • ‘My head sank between my knees, and I could feel my face blanching.’
    • ‘She blanched a little, ‘Not really, I was just told that she thought men were such weaklings.’’
    • ‘When I blanched at the price, he noted that steel, at the moment, was quite expensive.’
    • ‘He had blanched whiter than a hungry vampire and his steel gray eyes had gone momentarily wild.’
    • ‘She blanched, all colour draining from her face.’
    • ‘He blanched a little when he saw the 30 ft long Diplodocus and the life size Tyrannosaurus jawbones.’
    • ‘When I compared the two artists' work, a smart young friend of mine who is far more into the genre than I blanched a little.’
    wince, start, shy, shy away, recoil, shrink, pull back, back away, draw back, withdraw, blench, cringe, squirm, quiver, shudder, shiver, tremble, quake, shake, quail, cower, waver, falter, hesitate, get cold feet
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  • 3Briefly immerse (an item of food) in boiling water, especially as a technique for removing the skin from nuts or fruit or for preparing vegetables for further cooking.

    ‘blanch the almonds and grind them to a paste, adding a little water’
    ‘I blanched the carrots for a couple of minutes before roasting them’
    • ‘The colouring is important and he suggests that the mushrooms are first briefly blanched in boiling water, so they are moist without the need for prolonged cooking.’
    • ‘You cut them into squares and blanch them in boiling water for a minute or so with onion and garlic.’
    • ‘While the fish is cooking, blanch the bokchoy in boiling water just long enough to retain crispness.’
    • ‘Wash the vegetables, trim away any soft or brown spots, cut them into large pieces, and blanch them in boiling water for a minute or two.’
    • ‘Add the rice and blanch the grains for 5 minutes, then drain and spread out on a tray.’
    • ‘The leaf stalks are blanched in boiling water and peeled before use.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, blanch the button onions for a few seconds in boiling water, then drain and cool.’
    • ‘The last couple of hours were hectic, as they always are, assembling the cold dishes, marinating the fish and blanching the Chinese broccoli.’
    • ‘In a large saucepan filled with boiling water, blanch the lotus root until tender.’
    • ‘Simply cut the florets off the stems of the plant and blanch them for a couple of minutes in boiling water.’
    • ‘Kale can be steamed, blanched, boiled, braised, stir-fried, or sauteed.’
    • ‘Boil some water, blanch the garlic for about 15 seconds and then shock the garlic in an ice water bath.’
    • ‘To caramelise the garlic, first blanch the garlic in a pan of salted boiling water for about 3 minutes, then peel and transfer to a clean pan.’
    • ‘After blanching them for a few seconds in boiling water they become digestible without losing their crispness.’
    • ‘Lightly blanch the cabbage and add to a pan with the goose fat.’
    • ‘Prepare the tomatoes for the sauce by blanching them in boiling water for 20 seconds.’
    • ‘In a separate pot of salted, boiling water, blanch the fava beans, then immediately drain and shock them in an ice bath.’
    • ‘In a saucepan filled with boiling water, blanch the parsley for 10 minutes.’
    • ‘Place the garlic in a small pan of cold water and bring to the boil to blanch it.’
    • ‘To prepare, simply cut an X in the base of the sprouts, and blanch them in boiling water for about five minutes.’


Middle English: from Old French blanchir, from blanc ‘white’, ultimately of Germanic origin.