This section is from the book "Practical Cooking And Serving", by Janet McKenzie Hill. Also available from Amazon: Practical Cooking and Serving: A Complete Manual of How to Select, Prepare, and Serve Food .
Many vegetables are improved in appearance and made more delicate in flavor if they be blanched (parboiled and drained) before the cooking proper is begun. Set the vegetables, properly cleaned, to cook in plenty of boiling water; let cook from five to fifteen or more minutes, according to size, etc., drain and rinse with cold water. Then cook to finish as desired.
Cover the nuts with boiling water and let stand over the fire five or ten minutes, until the skin easily slips from the meat under the pressure of the fingers; then drain and keep covered with cold water, while the skins are being removed. Dry in the heater or open air. A small pointed knife will be needed to detach the skin from walnuts. The water about pistachio nuts needs to boil a moment or two, as the nuts do not blanch easily.
With a sharp-pointed knife slit each shell across one side. Cook one minute in boiling water, drain and let dry. Add a teaspoonful of butter for each pint of nuts, and stir and shake over the fire, or in the oven three or four minutes; then remove the shell and skin together. Keep the nuts covered with a cloth, in the meantime, as they shell more easily when hot.