Month: September 2017

Fruit

Can You Freeze Fruits?

Summer is officially over and that means it’s only a matter of time before your favorite summer fruits are no longer available. Now if say, you have lots of in-season fruits in the pantry, how do you extend their freshness? Can you freeze fruits?

You’d be surprised at how easy fruits keep well in the freezer. Of course, fruits come in different varieties, some freeze better than others. The general rule is that denser, hardier fruits tend to keep better in the freezer than softer fruits. Usually, fresh and ripe fruits have a shelf life of a week or two. But when kept in the freezer, fruits will keep for months, even a full year if the temperature is kept at a stable 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Before we go ahead with the freezing guide, let’s talk about the important factors you need to consider before freezing fruits. If you are buying fruits for freezing, always choose fresh fruits that are at their peak of freshness. Freezing will stop half-ripened fruits from fully ripening and this will affect the overall taste and texture of the produce. In addition, fresh fruits have to be frozen quickly so the freshness is locked in. Keep the temperature steady or your frozen fruits will turn to mush.

It’s also worth noting that moisture exposure will ruin the taste and texture of the frozen fruits. As such, packing the fruits prior to freezing is a critical step. Freezing fruits isn’t just about sticking a bag of it in the freezer. Below is the guide on how can you freeze fruits:

How to Freeze Fruits?

Prepping the fruits prior to freezing is a critical step in preserving the natural flavors and texture of the fruits. There are different techniques to consider when prepping fresh fruits for freezing:

Flash Freezing

Flash freezing involves “shocking” or exposing the fruits to extremely low temperature to lock in the freshness. Delicate fruits – such as berries, pears, melons, and grapes – tend to go mushy when they are not flash-frozen before being frozen. By flash freezing the fruits, delicate fruits retain their crisp texture and distinct flavors.

To flash freeze fruits, wash and trim the fruits. Remove the pits, peel or cut the fruits if needed. Lay the fruits on a parchment-lined baking tray. Make sure the fruit pieces are not touching each other so they won’t clump together. Stick the baking tray in the freezer and let sit for 1 hour or until the fruits are frozen solid.

While waiting for the fruits to freeze, prepare several resealable plastic bags. After an hour, take the baking tray out of the freezer and gently place the fruits in the plastic bag. Give the bag a squeeze to remove the air before sealing. Write the storage date with a marker then stick in the freezer.

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Preserving in Sugar Syrup

Some fruits tend to oxidize or discolor after they have been cut. These fruits include pears, apples, bananas, and peaches. An enzyme – called polyphenol oxidase or tyrosinase – triggers a bioreaction that causes fruits to darken. For these fruits, it’s best to preserve them in sugar or syrup prior to freezing. Flash freezing the fruits won’t stop the fruits from oxidizing once they’ve been defrosted. By preserving the fruits in syrup, the fruits will retain their natural color, flavor, and consistency.

To preserve fruits in syrup prior to freezing, wash the fruits in cold water. Do the cleaning in small batches because the fruits must not discolor before the process is completed! Do not slice or cut the fruits, do this later. Once the fruits are clean, set aside.

Next, you need to prepare the syrup. Dissolve heaps of sugar in lukewarm water, mixing continuously until the solution is clear. In terms of the syrup’s thickness, this will depend on your preference. To make thin syrup, mix one part sugar to three parts water. For a syrup with medium thickness, mix one part sugar with two parts water. For goopy syrup, mix equal parts water and sugar.

Pour the sugar and water solution into a deep skillet, simmering on medium heat until the solution thickens. Once the solution is thickened, it’s ready to be used.

Go back to your washed fruits and trim, de-core, pit, peel or slice the produce as you please. Put the fruits in a freezer-safe, airtight container. Do not fill the container completely; you need to make room for the syrup. Once you’re ready, pour the syrup into the container, making sure all fruits are covered by it. Leave about an inch or two of space so the syrup has room to expand as it freezes. Seal with the airtight lid, write the storage date, and then stick in the freezer.

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A variation of this technique involves adding the fresh fruits directly in the pot of boiling syrup. You won’t cook the fruits through, just add them as soon as the syrup has thickened. Then, just pour everything in an airtight container, seal, write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Sugar Pack

This is a simple technique that’s best used on sliced peaches, strawberries, plums, cherries as well as de-seeded grapes. Start by washing, trimming, peeling or de-seeding the fruits. Then, place the fruit bits in a shallow pan. Sprinkle sugar on the fruits, enough to cover every bit. Mix the fruits gently until the fruit juice has been drawn out and the sugar dissolved completely. When you’re done, you are ready for packing.

Preparing the Fruits for Freezing

This is a general guide on how to freeze most types of fresh fruits.

Start by sorting the fresh fruits and picking the ones that are at the peak of freshness. Wash the fruits in cold water, removing bits and dirt. Once the fruits are clean, dry well with paper towel. At this point, you can slice, dice, de-pit, de-core, de-seed, or peel the fruits as you please. Carve away bruises, gashes, or undesirable spots while you’re at it.

Once the fruits are ready, you can flash-freeze, preserve the fruits in syrup or use the sugar pack technique to prep the product. If you’re working with fruits that oxidize, do not cut or slice the fruits right away. If you’re using simple syrup, do the syrup before cutting the fruits. Otherwise, the fruits will discolor before you have the chance to complete the process.

When you are done flash freezing, preserving in syrup or using the sugar pack technique, you are ready to pack the fruits for freezing.

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Packing the Fruits for Freezing

You can use a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid, a freezer jar, or resealable plastic bags to pack the fruits. Just place the fruits in your preferred container and seal. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

If you used syrup to preserve the fruits, cover the container with cling wrap before closing the lid. This way, the syrup won’t leak. We do not recommend using mason jars or glass jars because the material will explode in freezing temperature.

Guidelines for Freezing Specific Fruits

Nectarines

Love nectarines? You can freeze nectarines easily, check out this guide for the steps how!

Limes

Limes are plentiful in the summer so if you want to preserve this citrusy fruit all year round, check out this guide.

Kiwi

Kiwi is a delicate fruit that bruises easily so it should be frozen carefully. Here’s the right way to freeze kiwi fruit.

Figs

Figs are such versatile fruits, you can’t have enough of it. Learn how to freeze figs properly with this guide.

Blueberries

There are many ways to preserve blueberries prior to freezing. Find out how to freeze blueberries the right way with this guide.

For a complete list of our fruit freezing guides, click here.

How to Defrost Frozen Fruits?

Defrosting frozen fruits is easy, just transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the frozen fruits to thaw slowly overnight. You want to defrost the fruits slowly to retain the texture and flavor of the produce. When the fruits have thawed completely, it’s ready to be eaten or prepared according to the recipe.

Summary

As you can see, there are so many techniques to consider when freezing different types of fruits. We hope that this guide has been helpful to you. Now that you know how can you freeze fruits, you can extend the freshness of your favorite seasonal fruits for months!

Herbs & Spices

Can You Freeze Fresh Herbs

Herbs make a terrific seasoning and are often used in a variety of cooking. Usually, herbs can be bought fresh and dried. Since dried herbs have been processed to remove as much moisture as possible, they have a longer shelf life than fresh herbs. However, the intensity of the aroma and flavor of dried herbs could degrade the longer you keep them in storage.

Fresh herbs have a shorter shelf life because they are quite delicate. They bruise easily and they are prone to rot. Fresh herbs are sensitive to temperature changes too. But can you freeze fresh herbs? If say, you prefer working with fresh herbs but you need to store the rest for later, is freezing the best way to preserve herbs? Yes it is!

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Fresh herbs can be frozen and when done right, there will be little to no flavor changes! In fact, fresh herbs that are frozen properly retain the same aroma, flavor, and nutrients as freshly harvested herbs. In addition, there are several techniques to freeze fresh herbs!

Frozen fresh herbs may not look as pretty as freshly harvested herbs but they are definitely safe to use in cooking.

One thing to keep in mind when prepping the herbs for freezing is the moisture level. You need to remove as much water as possible during prepping so ice crystals won’t form within the herbs. If you don’t, the ice crystals will melt when the herbs are thawed, diluting the flavor of the herb.

Freezing is not only a fantastic method to maximize fresh herbs; it’s a terrific way to stock up on seasonal herbs! Imagine having summer season herbs all winter long. Now let’s take a look at how can you freeze herbs:

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How to Freeze Fresh Herbs?

The Best Herbs for Freezing

There are different varieties of herbs, which ones are best for freezing? Hard or tough herbs are best for freezing because they contain less moisture so they do not degrade as easily once frozen. They are also more likely to retain their aroma and flavor once frozen and defrosted. Examples of tough herbs are oregano, bay leaf, marjoram, and thyme.

Soft herbs are herbs with a high moisture content. This makes them a little tricky to freeze. Since they contain more moisture, the ice crystals will develop within the herbs. This will dilute the flavor and aroma of the herbs. Parsley basil, cilantro, tarragon, basil, mint, and chives are some of the most common soft herbs. They can be frozen but expect slight flavor changes.

Prepping the Herbs

No matter what type of herbs you freeze, it’s important to prep the herbs prior to freezing. Start by rinsing the herbs in cool water, removing dirt and other debris. Once the herbs are clean, pat dry with paper towel. Finally, you can either chop the herbs or leave them uncut. Now you’re ready to freeze.

Freezing Fresh Herbs Individually

Hardy herbs such as rosemary, Italian parsley, sage dill, chives, thyme, and bay leaf, can be frozen with minimal steps. Since these herbs have low moisture content, they are able to retain their enzymes and natural flavors.

Just spread the fresh herbs in a single layer-baking sheet, making sure the herbs do not touch each other so they don’t clump together. Stick the baking sheet in the freezer and leave to freeze for an hour or so.

Once the fresh herbs are frozen, prepare several resealable plastic bags. Take the baking sheet out, place the frozen herbs inside and then squeeze out as much air as you can. Seal the plastic bag and flatten the bag. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Freezing Fresh Herbs in Water

This technique is best for tender herbs such as cilantro, mint, and parsley. You’ll need several ice cube trays and filtered water. You can either chop the herbs or leave them uncut. Place the herbs in every ice cube slot then fill with filtered water. Make sure the herbs are covered completely with water before popping the tray in the freezer. Leave the herbs to freeze for two hours or so.

Once the herbs are frozen solid, prepare quart-sized resealable plastic bags. Take the ice cube trays out, pop each cubed herb and place it gently into the plastic bag. Squeeze as much air as you can prior to sealing. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

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Freezing Fresh Herbs in Oil

Freezing in oil is perhaps the best technique when it comes to retaining the flavor of aromatic herbs. This is a great way to preserve hardier herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano. It is a great technique for freezing basil to make pesto as well!

The great thing about freezing herbs in oil is that you can customize the herbs to create your own flavor concoction. For instance, you can combine sage, thyme, and rosemary and freeze them in oil so you have instant flavoring for roast chicken!

One thing to consider when choosing this technique is the quality of the oil. For starters, you need to use oil that has a neutral taste. You don’t want the natural flavor of the oil to overpower the flavor of the herbs. Good quality olive oil is one of the best oils to use for this technique. The delicate flavor of the oil will enhance the flavor of the aromatics. If olive oil is not available, you can use coconut oil or melted butter.

After prepping the herbs for freezing, prepare several ice cube trays. Place the herbs into each ice cube slot and pour the oil. Make sure the oil is covering the herbs well. Stick in the freezer and leave to freeze for an hour or so.

When the cubed herbs are frozen stiff, prepare several fun-sized resealable plastic bags. Take the ice cube tray out of the freezer and pop each cubed herb. Place everything in the resealable plastic and squeeze out the air before sealing. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Freezing Fresh Herbs in Broth

Yes, you can freeze fresh herbs using your choice of broth. You can use beef, chicken, or a mix of both, depending on the recipe. The steps are similar to freezing fresh herbs in oil, just prep the herbs then place them in ice cube trays. Pour the broth, just enough to fill each cube slot. Make sure the broth is covering the fresh herbs well.

Stick the ice trays in the freezer and leave to freeze for 2 hours or so. Once the herbs are frozen solid, take the ice cube trays out of the freezer and pop the cubed herbs. Place everything in small resealable plastic bags, squeezing out the air before sealing. With a marker, write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Freezing Specific Types of Herbs

If you’re freezing a specific type of herbs, check out our step by step guide below:

Dill

Dill is a soft herb that requires care when being prepped for freezing. Check out this guide to learn how to freeze dill right.

Cilantro

The tangy, zippy flavor of cilantro adds live to fresh salads and stir-frys. It’s also a common herb used in Mexican and Asian cooking. Here’s our guide on how to freeze cilantro.

Basil

From pizza to salads, the distinct aroma of basil adds a lovely dimension to any dish. But how to freeze basil? Check out this guide.

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How to Defrost Frozen Fresh Herbs

Slow defrosting is best if you’re using the herbs to make salads, marinades, and seasonings. Defrosting frozen fresh herbs slowly is so easy; just transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the herbs to thaw for several hours.

If you are using the herbs for cooking soups, stews, etc., there is no need to thaw the herbs at all. Just pop a portion of the frozen herbs in the pot and the herbs will thaw as the dish cooks.

Summary

Fresh herbs leave more room for experimentation. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, it pays to store fresh herbs properly for your next culinary adventure.

Freezing fresh herbs does require several steps but the time it takes to preserve these aromatics are certainly worth the effort. Now that you know how can you freeze fresh herbs, there is no need to worry about what to do with your leftover aromatics!

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Fresh Vegetables?

Can you freeze fresh vegetables? Nothing like eating fresh vegetables on the daily but if you have too much of your favorite greens, freezing the rest can be a great idea too. Certain types of vegetables are great for freezing; there will be minimal texture or flavor changes. Usually, fibrous, hard or dense vegetables freeze so well.

However, delicate greens and starchy vegetables are a little tricky to keep in the freezer. Still, if you want to preserve the nutritional value of your favorite vegetables, freezing is your best bet. In addition, freezing vegetables takes more than just packing and sticking the veggies in the freezer. There are certain steps you need to take to keep rot and frost away. These steps include these techniques:

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Flash Freezing the Vegetables

Flash freezing involves “shocking” or exposing the food to low temperature prior to freezing. This helps retain the freshness of the ingredients. Some vegetables tend to lose their crunchiness or fresh flavor when frozen and thawed. Through flash freezing, the vegetables won’t lose their crispiness and distinct green taste even when frozen and thawed.

To flash freeze the vegetables, place the washed and trimmed vegetables on a cookie sheet. Make sure the greens aren’t touching each other so they are easy to pull apart. Stick the cookie sheet in the freezer and let sit until frozen solid.

For larger vegetables, this should take two hours or so. For smaller vegetables, check every 30 minutes. If you are unsure if the veggies are frozen, cut a piece and see if the center is frozen.

Blanching the Vegetables

Blanching involves immersing fresh vegetables into a pot of boiling water – usually for a minute or two – then plunging the vegetables in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

This technique is meant to prolong the freshness of the vegetables as well as add vibrancy to their natural color. Blanching helps kill the enzymes that cause the vegetables to ripen. The method helps preserve the vegetables at the peak of freshness prior to freezing.

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To blanch the washed and trimmed vegetables, simmer a pot of boiling water. While waiting for the pot of water to simmer, prepare a large bowl of iced water then set aside.

Once the pot of water is boiling, place the vegetables in the pot using a slotted spoon or a colander. Give the vegetables at least 60 seconds to blanch or until the color of the veggies becomes brighter. Then, take the vegetables out of the pot and plunge into the ice water. Once completely cooled, the veggies are ready to be packed for freezing.

Now that you know two of the best techniques for prepping veggies for freezing, let’s take a look at the step by step guide on how can you freeze fresh vegetables:

How to Freeze Fresh Vegetables?

This is a general guide on how to freeze most types of fresh vegetables.

To start, select only the young and fresh vegetables then wash them thoroughly. With a knife, trim the veggies, remove the husk, peel the vegetables or cut in desired pieces, etc. Once the vegetables are washed and trimmed, you can choose to blanch or flash freeze first prior to freezing. Please refer to the instruction above for the blanching or flash freezing guide.

Once you are done flash freezing or blanching the fresh vegetables, pat the vegetables dry with paper towels. This is an extremely important part of freezing fresh vegetables. If you don’t pat the vegetables dry prior to freezing, ice crystals will form within the veggies. This will ruin the flavor and texture of the greens once they are defrosted!

After patting the vegetables dry, you can now pack the veggies for freezing. You can either use a large airtight container or resealable plastic bags to pack the veggies. Just place the vegetables into your preferred container then seal. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer. If you’re using a resealable plastic bag, it’s best to use the quart sized ones so you can divide the vegetables into manageable portions. This will make defrosting much easier.

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Guidelines for Freezing Specific Vegetables

Freezing a certain type of vegetables? Don’t worry, we got you covered. Here are the basic guidelines on how to freeze some of the most commonly used fresh vegetables:

Asparagus

Asparagus keeps so well in the freezer because it’s quite a fibrous vegetable. Here is a complete guide on how can you freeze asparagus.

Zucchini

Just like asparagus, zucchini is a terrific vegetable for freezing because it doesn’t turn soggy or mushy once defrosted. Here is a step by step guide on how to freeze zucchini.

Carrots

Who doesn’t love carrots? Learn how to freeze carrots the right way by checking out our complete guide! Click here to get started.

Cabbage

Cabbage is a delicate vegetable so freezing it will require careful attention. Most types of green leafy vegetables are tricky to freeze so refer to this guide to get it right.

Celery

Celery is also a delicate vegetable so it’s a little tricky to freeze. But once done right, celery will keep fresh in the freezer for months. Go here for the step by step guide on how to freeze celery.

Onions

Onions are quite easy to freeze. Here is our step by step guide on how to prep and store fresh onions in the freezer.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts keep so well in the freezer. Check out our guide on how can you freeze Brussels sprouts here.

Butternut Squash

It’s always a great idea to stock up on butternut especially during the colder season. Here is a step by step guide on how to prepare and pack butternut squash for freezing.

Eggplants

Ever wonder how to prep eggplants for freezing? Extend the shelf life of your favorite vegetable with this simple guide on how to freeze eggplants!

Green Beans

Green beans aren’t so tricky to freeze because they are fibrous. Here is our guide on how to freeze green beans properly.

Bean Sprouts

Bean sprouts tend to lose their crispiness once frozen but our step by step guide will walk you through the proper way to freeze beans sprouts.

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How to Defrost Fresh Vegetables?

There is no need to thaw frozen fresh vegetables if they’ll be used in cooking. They will thaw as they cook. This is great news if you’re making soups and stews – just chuck the frozen vegetables, and you’re done. However, there are certain dishes that do require the frozen vegetables to be defrosted. For instance, if you are making fresh salads, stir-frys, and hors d’oeuvre made from fresh veggies, you need to defrost the vegetables first.

Generally, you want to defrost the fresh vegetable slowly. That means, you just need to transfer the frozen vegetables from the freezer to the fridge. This goes especially for delicate vegetables such as green leafy vegetables and starchy vegetables. Leave the fresh vegetables to thaw for several hours to overnight. Once the vegetables are completely thawed, use as directed by the recipe!

Summary

Vegetables come in different varieties so there is no clear-cut freezing method that applies to all vegetables. Some vegetables require more care than others because they are more sensitive to temperature changes while others are hardier.

One secret to maintaining the freshness of the vegetables even after freezing and defrosting is to keep the temperature at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, packing the vegetables properly prior to freezing is also important too!

We hope that this guide on how can you freeze fresh vegetables is a great help to you. For our full list on fresh vegetable freezing guides, please go here.

Dish

Can You Freeze Sushi?

Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish that consists of vinegared rice topped with slices of seafood – typically raw fish – and a smidge of wasabi. Since the raw ingredients degrade quickly at room temperature, sushi must be kept chilled at a low temperature prior to serving. So can you freeze sushi?

If say, you made too much sushi or you’ve got leftover sushi from your favorite Japanese restaurant, is freezing a good idea at all? Most people think that freezing sushi will degrade the quality of the fish because ice crystals will form within the fish.

Image used under Creative Commons from Tony Gladvin George

You might be surprised but the “raw” seafood used in sushi has been frozen for several days prior to being cut for the dish! In fact, US regulation requires tuna to be flash frozen seconds after the fish has been harvested to retain freshness.

That means it’s perfectly safe to freeze raw seafood used as ingredients for sushi. What about the rice and other ingredients, do they keep well in the freezer?

How you prepare the sushi rice for freezing will affect the grain’s overall texture. Usually, packing cold rice for freezing will lead to dry, crumbly, or hard results. If you are making sushi from scratch, it’s best to 1) pack the vinegared rice separately from the raw seafood and 2) pack the rice while it’s still steaming in an airtight container.

What about sushi leftovers? Can you freeze it? Technically, any type of food can be frozen. However, sushi does not freeze well. The rice and the nori wrapper could become soggy, broken to bits or simply unappetizing to look at once thawed. That being said, thawed sushi is safe to eat. So really, the choice is yours.

When kept in the fridge, sushi will only keep for 10 to 24 hours. But when kept in the freezer, sushi will keep fresh for up to 3 months. Of course, it’s best to consume sushi as soon as you can for optimal flavor and texture. Below is the step by step guide on how can you freeze sushi:

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How to Freeze Sushi?

Freezing Homemade Sushi

If you are making sushi at home and you’re anticipating a lot of leftovers, it’s best to freeze the ingredients separately. Just assemble the ingredients after thawing. To do this, just prepare the ingredients as you normally would such as washing the block of fish or raw seafood, cooking and seasoning the sushi rice, etc.

Once this is done, prepare several airtight containers. Place the fish in the first container. Do not slice the fish, do this only when you are ready to prep the sushi for serving. This will prevent frost from ruining the texture of the fish. Seal the container with the airtight lid, write the storage date and then stick in the freezer.

Spoon the vinegared rice into the second container. The rice should be steaming hot, not cooled to retain the grain’s sticky, moist consistency. Seal the container with the airtight lid, write the storage date and then stick in the freezer.

Finally, pack the nori wrapper in a resealable plastic bag. Squeeze the air out prior to sealing then write the storage date. Stick the plastic bag in the freezer and you’re done.

Freezing Leftover Sushi

Since leftover sushi is fully assembled, expect the texture or flavor to change after the dish has been thawed. Just place the leftovers in an airtight container and seal with the lid. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

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How to Defrost Frozen Sushi?

To defrost the frozen sushi, just transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the sushi to thaw for several hours to overnight. Never thaw the sushi by letting it stand at room temperature. This increases the risk of contamination and bacterial growth! Once the sushi has been defrosted, it’s ready to eat. Since sushi is served chilled, it doesn’t require reheating at all.

Summary

Sushi is one of the healthiest and most popular Japanese dishes for a reason. The savory taste of the vinegared rice pairs so well with the fresh seafood, nori, and wasabi. Freezing sushi may be tricky and will require trial and error but as long as the dish won’t go to waste, all that effort is worth it! Now that you know how can you freeze sushi, there’s no need to worry about what to do with your leftovers.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Boiled Potatoes?

Can you freeze boiled potatoes? Cooked potatoes can be frozen but there will be minor texture changes. If the potatoes have been packed poorly, they could take on a soggy, watery, or even grainy texture once thawed.

That being said, cooking the potatoes prior to freezing helps cut the prep time when you’re cooking. In addition, freezing boiled potatoes extends the shelf life of the spuds, which is great if you’ve got more potatoes than you can handle. Imagine all the baked potatoes, French fries, and croquettes that you can make in the future by freezing cooked potatoes right now.

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When kept in the fridge, boiled potatoes will keep for a week or so. But when frozen, boiled potatoes will keep fresh for 3 to 4 months. Do note that some potato variety keeps well in the freezer and some don’t. Waxy potato varieties such as white, red, and yellow potatoes are perfect for freezing. These potato varieties have low moisture content so changes in texture are kept at a minimum.

When choosing what type of potatoes to get for freezing, look for spuds that are firm, smooth and blemish-free. Avoid potatoes with a green tinge, as this is a sign of prolonged sun exposure. The green tinge is actually a toxic compound. Now let’s take a look at the step by step guide on how can you freeze boiled potatoes:

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How to Freeze Boiled Potatoes?

Preparing the Potatoes for Freezing

Start by preparing the potatoes for boiling. With a soft brush, scrub the potatoes under cool running water. Peel the potatoes with a peeler and remove the eyes and/or blemishes. You can cut the potatoes if they are too large or leave then un-cut. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a full boil then gently add the potatoes. Cook the potatoes for 5 to 6 minutes or until slightly tender. Do not boil the potatoes completely, they should remain firm. While waiting for the potatoes to cook, prepare a bowl of iced water. When the potatoes are done, scoop each one with a slotted spoon and give them an ice bath. This will stop the core heat from cooking the spuds through. After the ice bath, pat each potato dry with paper towels.

Packing and Freezing the Potatoes

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread the potatoes and make sure each one is cooled completely. Stick the baking sheet in the freezer for two hours or until the potatoes are frozen solid. This extra step stops the spuds from clumping together. Once the potatoes are frozen solid, get several resealable plastic bags or a large freezer-safe container. Take the potatoes out of the freezer and place them in your preferred container. Seal the container, write the storage date with a marker and then stick in the freezer.

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How to Defrost Boiled Potatoes?

When it comes to defrosting frozen whole boiled potatoes, simply transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the potatoes to thaw for several hours to overnight. As for potatoes that were diced and sliced prior to freezing, there is no need to thaw the spuds. They can be used in cooking immediately. Since diced or sliced boiled potatoes were cut into smaller bits, they will thaw quickly as they cook.

When using thawed boiled potatoes in cooking, add them when the dish is almost done cooking. That means preparing the dish without the potatoes and adding the spuds just as you are about to wrap up. This will prevent the spuds from turning into soggy, mushy mess.

Summary

Freezing boiled potatoes is easy as long as you know what factors to keep in mind during the process. Now that you know how can you freeze boiled potatoes, there is no need to worry about what to do with your excess spuds! Just freeze the potatoes for future cooking.

Noodles & Pastas

Can You Freeze Gnocchi?

Gnocchi is a type of doughy dumpling with ridged edges to hold the sauce. Usually eaten as a substitute for pasta noodles, gnocchi is made with semolina flour and served as a first-course meal. That said, it can be used to make side dishes. Do you love gnocchi and would like to store the leftovers for later? Can you freeze gnocchi?

Whether fresh or store-bought, gnocchi can be frozen for future cooking. If you’re making gnocchi from scratch, it’s best to freeze gnocchi uncooked as soon as they are shaped. Cooked gnocchi has a relatively short shelf life, it will only last for a week in the fridge. But when stored in the freezer, the gnocchi will keep for at least 2 months.

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Now, the issue with storing gnocchi in the fridge or freezer is the dumplings tend to disintegrate once boiled in water. The fact is, gnocchi has to be cooked immediately or frozen uncooked. But let’s face it, sometimes you have leftover gnocchi that you cannot finish. When the conditions are not right, we will teach you how to prep and reheat the dumplings properly so the defrosted gnocchi remains perfect once reheated. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze gnocchi:

How to Freeze Gnocchi?

How you freeze the gnocchi will depend on the state of the dumplings. Are you freezing uncooked or cooked/leftover gnocchi?

Freezing Cooked Gnocchi

Gnocchi is best frozen uncooked because the dumplings have the tendency to soften too much once reheated. But if you have excess cooked gnocchi, you can still freeze the dumplings. If you made too much gnocchi than you can handle, separate the dumplings that you need to freeze and hold off the sauce. You can add the sauce after thawing and reheating the dumplings.

Sprinkle a little flour and toss the gnocchi before spooning the dumplings into a resealable plastic container. The flour will prevent the dumplings from sticking together. Squeeze the air out before sealing then write the storage date with a marker. Finally, stick in the freezer. If you have a vacuum sealer, use it to lock in the freshness.

Image used under Creative Commons from Rebecca T. Caro

Freezing Leftover Gnocchi

If say, you have some leftover gnocchi (sauce and all), it’ll be hard to freeze the dumplings without changing the texture. Because the gnocchi has been cooked completely, reheating will turn the dumplings mushy. If that’s fine with you, just spoon the leftover gnocchi into an airtight container, close the lid, write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Freezing Uncooked Gnocchi

This is the ideal way to preserve and maintain the chewy consistency of gnocchi after freezing. Start by making the gnocchi from scratch, placing each dumpling in a floured, parchment-lined baking pan. Once you’re done, leave the gnocchi to air dry at room temperature for an hour up to four hours. This step is important because it helps retain the chewiness of the gnocchi once defrosted.

Once air-drying is done, stick the pan in the freezer and leave the gnocchi to freeze for 2 to 3 hours. When the dumplings are frozen solid, take the tray out of the freezer. With a resealable plastic bag, place the gnocchi one by one. When the plastic bag is filled with gnocchi, squeeze out as much air as you can, seal, then stick in the freezer.

How to Defrost and Reheat Frozen Gnocchi?

To defrost gnocchi, simply transfer the dumplings from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the gnocchi to thaw for several hours to overnight. It is important that the dumplings be completely thawed before reheating or cooking. Now let’s take a look at how to reheat frozen gnocchi properly:

Image used under Creative Commons from Marco Fedele

Reheating Leftovers Using the Microwave

For leftover sauced gnocchi, you can reheat the dish in the microwave. Transfer the dumplings to a microwave-safe bowl, stick in the microwave and nuke on high at 10 seconds intervals or until gnocchi is reheated thoroughly.

Reheating Leftovers Using the Stove

Pour the leftover, sauced gnocchi into a skillet and simmer on low until the dumplings are heated through. You can add a little more of the sauce if the dish becomes too dry. At this point, you can also add your favorite mix-ins, such as parmesan cheese, olive oil, etc. When the gnocchi is cooked through, serve immediately.

Cooking Thawed Cooked Gnocchi

Cook the gnocchi as directed in the recipe. Prep the defrosted gnocchi the same way as fresh gnocchi.

Cooking Thawed Uncooked Gnocchi

For defrosted, uncooked gnocchi, boil a pot of water then drop the thawed gnocchi one by one. Since the gnocchi has been defrosted, it will take some time before each one floats, which takes 2 minutes or so. When the gnocchi floats, it is done cooking. Just scoop all the floating gnocchi and cook as directed in the recipe.

Summary

As you can see, there are so many steps to take when freezing and defrosting gnocchi. But the effort is worth it once you whip up your favorite gnocchi-based dish. Now that you know how can you freeze gnocchi, extending the shelf life of these yummy dumplings will be a piece of cake.