Understanding Water Cooking Terms
Cooking with water is simple, but not understanding water cooking terms can ruin a dish. It helps to know water cooking terms so you can do exactly what a recipe calls for.
Boiling: When bubbles form at the bottom of the pot and then rise to break the surface.
Rapid boil: Bringing water to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Bubbles are breaking quickly and vigorously. Lots of steam.
Slow boil: Bringing water to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Bubbles break slowly.
Simmering and poaching: Like a gentle pre-boil. In a simmer, tiny bubbles break the surface gently — like a soft summer shower on a still lake. No, really, that’s what it looks like! Simmering (or poaching) occurs at a lower temperature — just below a slow boil. Temperature is 185 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Parboiling and blanching: Pre-cooking tough foods in boiling water to soften their textures or to make their skins easier to remove.
Reducing: Boiling stock or liquid to thicken and intensify the flavor, typically for use in a sauce. Reducing actually reduces the volume of the liquid by boiling off the water, leaving a thicker, more richly flavored liquid behind.
Steaming: The gentlest way to cook and good for retaining a food’s color, flavor, texture, shape, and nutrients.