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This Is What A Rolling Boil Looks Like

Boiling water is boiling water is boiling water…to a point. Yes, water boils at 212°F. But we're cooking here, and that calls for nuance. Just ask anyone who has been forced to chew through pasta that's nowhere near al dente. Why does this tragedy sometimes happen? Because adding new ingredients to boiling water causes a slight drop in temperature, something that makes a difference when your pot of water is just barely boiling. A vigorous, rolling boil ensures ain't nothing going to affect that boil!

Here's water that's pretty darn hot, but not quite at a rolling boil. Notice: Just a few bubbles breaking the surface. This will work just fine, however, to steam or blanch vegetables.



Boiling Water 2. Video by Karen Gaudette.

Now here's a rolling boil! Notice: Bubbles aplenty bursting, water absolutely freaking out. This is what you need for pasta and most recipes for hard-boiled eggs.



Rolling Boil 2. Video by Karen Gaudette.

And here's a simmer. Notice: Active water with tiny bubbles rising to a staccato beat. That's how you'll want your soups, chilis, stews, and other slow-cooking meals to appear as they simmer away after an initial boil, building flavor.



Simmer 2. Video by Karen Gaudette.

Happy cooking! 

About Karen Gaudette Brewer

Karen Gaudette Brewer came into this world craving salmon; thinks orange zest is the best smell in the world; and never met a green chile chicken casserole she didn't like. She's the author of the book "Seafood Lover's Pacific Northwest" and a longtime food writer. Connect with her on Twitter and see what's for dinner: @nwfoodette.