Definition of blanch in US English:



  • 1with object Make white or pale by extracting color; bleach.

    ‘the cold light blanched her face’
    • ‘The glare of the flash blanches some faces, while others are obscured by the frame's edges.’
    • ‘It blanches the complexion to think that this sort of thing could be going on in ‘civilized’ society in modern times.’
    • ‘The grey of the last forty eight hours had blanched it silver.’
    • ‘The wind blew, chilling their coffee and blanching their faces.’
    • ‘Her tan skin was blanched and she quivered slightly.’
    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. 1.1with object Whiten (a plant) by depriving it of light.
      ‘blanch endive by covering plants with large flowerpots’
      • ‘The traditional way to blanch asparagus is to mound mulch or sand around the spears as they emerge.’
      • ‘According to him, ‘In Europe the farmers throw dirt around the asparagus in order to blanch it.’’
      • ‘Inner leaves can be blanched - simply tie the head loosely with string once the heart begins to form.’
      • ‘Broad-leafed endive, which is often blanched by putting a box over the plant, is called ‘escarole’ in the USA.’
      • ‘When seedlings are 10 to 12 inches tall, hill up the soil around the plant bases to blanch the stems.’
      • ‘Planting leeks deep in the soil blanches them, shielding the shanks from the sun and keeping them white, tender, and sweet.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2no object (of a person) grow pale from shock, fear, or a similar emotion.

    ‘many people blanch at the suggestion’
    ‘their faces blanched with fear’
    • ‘About halfway through the motion, though, he gasped and blanched a little with pain.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some of the proposals range from 20 to 30 percent and people blanch at the thought of paying that much.’
    • ‘She blanched with fear, as though her worst fears stood incarnate before her.’
    • ‘Many journalists would have blanched at the idea.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her face had blanched when her sister had taunted her that the two of them should marry.’
    • ‘She blanched, turning first white, then a brilliant red.’
    • ‘My head sank between my knees, and I could feel my face blanching.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I looked down towards the first row of seats and blanched at the blood stains on the artificial leather.’
    • ‘I saw Mike's parents look at me oddly; his mother seemed to be blanching with fear of what I was going to say.’
    • ‘Her pale face blanched even more at his suggestion and she backed up until her back was flush to the wall.’
    • ‘He blanched a moment, stumbling back to his chair, then sat, a faint smile on his face.’
    • ‘When I blanched at the price, he noted that steel, at the moment, was quite expensive.’
    • ‘She blanched, all colour draining from her face.’
    • ‘He had blanched whiter than a hungry vampire and his steel gray eyes had gone momentarily wild.’
    • ‘She blanched a little, ‘Not really, I was just told that she thought men were such weaklings.’’
    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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  • 3with object Prepare (vegetables) for freezing or further cooking by immersing briefly in boiling water.

    • ‘Prepare the tomatoes for the sauce by blanching them in boiling water for 20 seconds.’
    • ‘Place the garlic in a small pan of cold water and bring to the boil to blanch it.’
    • ‘In a large saucepan filled with boiling water, blanch the lotus root until tender.’
    • ‘You cut them into squares and blanch them in boiling water for a minute or so with onion and garlic.’
    • ‘In a separate pot of salted, boiling water, blanch the fava beans, then immediately drain and shock them in an ice bath.’
    • ‘After blanching them for a few seconds in boiling water they become digestible without losing their crispness.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In a saucepan filled with boiling water, blanch the parsley for 10 minutes.’
    • ‘The last couple of hours were hectic, as they always are, assembling the cold dishes, marinating the fish and blanching the Chinese broccoli.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, blanch the button onions for a few seconds in boiling water, then drain and cool.’
    • ‘Boil some water, blanch the garlic for about 15 seconds and then shock the garlic in an ice water bath.’
    • ‘Lightly blanch the cabbage and add to a pan with the goose fat.’
    • ‘The leaf stalks are blanched in boiling water and peeled before use.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Simply cut the florets off the stems of the plant and blanch them for a couple of minutes in boiling water.’
    • ‘Add the rice and blanch the grains for 5 minutes, then drain and spread out on a tray.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Kale can be steamed, blanched, boiled, braised, stir-fried, or sauteed.’
    • ‘To prepare, simply cut an X in the base of the sprouts, and blanch them in boiling water for about five minutes.’
    • ‘While the fish is cooking, blanch the bokchoy in boiling water just long enough to retain crispness.’
    1. 3.1 Peel (almonds) by scalding them.
      ‘blanched almonds’
      • ‘Before baking, the top is covered with whole blanched almonds.’
      • ‘To blanch the almonds, cover them with boiling water for a few minutes, refresh them under cold water, drain them and rub the skins off with your finger tips.’
      • ‘Before blanching almonds, taste them with the skins on.’
      • ‘A small handful of soaked and blanched almonds or walnuts makes a nutritious mid-morning or afternoon snack.’
      • ‘Because I didn't blanch the almonds or pistachios, the cake itself looked a bit dull and not as green as you might fancy.’
      scald, boil, dunk
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Middle English: from Old French blanchir, from blanc ‘white’, ultimately of Germanic origin.