Month: May 2018

Legumes

Can You Freeze Tempeh?

Can you freeze tempeh? Tempeh is a fermented health food made from soybeans. A staple in Indonesian diet, tempeh is usually used as an alternative source of lean protein among vegans. It has a meaty consistency so it is an excellent substitute for pork and beef.

Tempeh is made by splitting, boiling soybeans or other legumes, then drying, and creating a culture from yeast. The tempeh goes through an incubation process until it becomes a dense cake of sorts before being frozen to preserve its active enzymes.

Tempeh is frozen during processing so yes, this product freezes so well. In fact, tempeh is often sold frozen to preserve freshness. If you have leftover tempeh, it can be frozen too although we highly discourage re-freezing the leftover tempeh. Refreezing the leftover tempeh may cause slight flavor and texture changes. That being said, if you are planning to mash the leftover tempeh for a recipe, refreezing it shouldn’t be a problem at all.

Types of Tempeh

Before we get into the freezing instructions, let’s discuss the two types of tempeh products sold in most supermarkets: fresh frozen and vacuum-sealed and pre-packed tempeh.

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Fresh Tempeh

Also known as fresh frozen tempeh, this is an extremely rare product in the US but it is quite common in specialty stores and Indonesian food stores. As the name implies, this product was frozen fresh so it should be pre-cooked for at least 20 minutes to relax the patty and allow it to absorb more flavors during cooking.

Vacuum-Sealed and Pre-Packed Tempeh

Vacuum-sealed and pre-packed tempeh is pasteurized so it is more shelf-stable than freshly frozen tempeh. This product does not require pre-cooking at all. In fact, pre-packed tempeh is ready to eat. But unless you enjoy eating tempeh raw, we still recommend cooking the tempeh to soften and moisten the product as well as to eliminate the tempeh’s naturally bitter aftertaste.

How to Make Fresh Tempeh at Home

While most people buy tempeh from supermarkets, you can make fresh tempeh at home. Homemade tempeh is just as tasty and versatile as store-bought tempeh but it’s more affordable. Here’s a quick guide on how to make tempeh at home:

How to Freeze Tempeh?

Freezing tempeh is as easy as can be. If you are freezing unopened packs of tempeh, there is no need to prep it for freezing. Just stick the product in the freezer in its original packaging.

On the other hand, if you are freezing leftover tempeh, wrap the product in a double layer of cling wrap, making sure no parts are exposed to chilly temperature. Then, place the wrapped tempeh in a heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Tempeh Cooking Ideas

Tempeh is such a versatile health food. You can use it in salads, sandwiches, even sloppy Joes! Since tempeh is often used as an alternative to pork and beef, you can make vegan tacos, vegan sweet and sour or BBQ “pork” using tempeh.

If you’re feeling adventurous in the kitchen, try any of the easy tempeh recipes above!

Shelf Life and Thawing  Suggestions

Tempeh will keep indefinitely in the freezer especially when the temperature is kept at a steady 0 degrees. On the other hand, tempeh will only last a week in the fridge. Do note that consuming tempeh as soon as possible is recommended otherwise, the product might develop a funky aroma or flavor.

Image used under Creative Commons from Stacy Spensley

Thawing the tempeh is easy, just transfer the frozen tempeh in the fridge and leave it to defrost overnight. Once the tempeh is defrosted, it’s ready to be added to your favorite recipes. You can also steam the frozen tempeh if you are pressed for time. Reheating the tempeh is not needed because the product can be added to cooking regardless if it is frozen or thawed.

Summary

Tempeh is a nutritious and delicious pork alternative, perfect if you’re watching what you eat. Can you freeze tempeh? No need to worry about your stash going bad because tempeh freezes so well.

That being said, always keep an eye out for significant flavor or texture changes. If for some reason the tempeh started emitting a foul odor or it has turned a weird shade, the product might’ve gone bad.

Dish

Can You Freeze Lentil Soup?

Lentil soup can be enjoyed as a snack, a starter, or as a light meal. This protein-packed soup is not just healthy and delicious, it is also easy to make! But what if you have leftovers, can you freeze lentil soup? The quick answer is yes, you can freeze lentil soup. And we’re not just talking about leftovers, you can make lentil soup ahead of time, freeze it, and serve it later! Do note, however, that freezing the lentil soup may cause slight changes in flavor or consistency.

How to Freeze Lentil Soup?

These freezing instructions will work for leftover and freshly cooked lentil soup! Before freezing the soup, make sure the soup has cooled off completely first. Once the soup has cooled off, chill it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Once the soup is chilled, take it out of the fridge and prepare several small resealable plastic bags. Smaller containers are better than a large resealable plastic bag because defrosting and reheating the soup is much easier.

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Ladle the soup into your preferred container carefully, filling the container only halfway through. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing the plastic baggies. Write the storage date then store flat in the freezer.

Another way to freeze leftover lentil soup involves using several ice cube trays and a large plastic bag. After the soup has cooled completely, ladle the soup into the ice cube trays until all slots are filled. Stick in the freezer and leave the cubed soup to freeze for at least two hours. Then, take out the ice cube tray from the freezer and gently remove the cubed soup one by one. Place them in a large resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing the plastic bag. Write the storage date then store flat in the freezer.

Freezer-Friendly Lentil Soup Recipe

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Freezing Lentil Soup

Hastily Preparing the Soup for Freezing

It is important to wait for the soup to cool down completely before freezing it. Putting warm or hot items in the freezer causes a significant temperature shift. When this happens, the temperature of the freezer lowers, increasing the risk of spoilage. And we are not just talking about the soup going bad but the other foods that you store in the freezer. Significant temperature shifts increase the risk for food safety too. Some culinary experts also believe that the frozen lentil soup’s shelf life becomes much shorter and it will be much easier to spoil once reheated if it hasn’t been left to cool down completely prior to freezing.

If say, you are pressed for time and you need to cool the soup down quickly, give the cooking pot an ice bath. Stir the soup every few minutes while you’re at it to speed up the cooling process even more.

Over-Filling or Under-Filling the Container

Never fill the container with lentil soup to the brim! Any type of liquid product expands as it freezes. If you fill a container with soup to the brim, the container will either burst or break. This goes especially if you used a flimsy container.

But if you think under-filling the container with soup is a better idea, it isn’t. Under-filling the container increases the risk of freezer burn. Ideally, you need to leave about an inch of space when filling the container with lentil soup. This way, the soup has enough room to expand but the air exposure is also minimal, which decreases the risk of freezer burns.

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Overcooking the Lentil

Love chunky lentil soup? Who doesn’t? But if you know that you are freezing the soup before making it, do not cook the lentil all the way through. Doing so could cause the soup to turn excessively mushy once it’s been defrosted and reheated. If you are making the soup in advance and you have plans to freeze the entire batch, try undercooking the lentil.

On the other hand, if you are making a huge pot of lentil soup with plans of freezing the leftovers, divide the batch into two. Serve half of the batch now and freeze the other half for later.

Shelf Life, Thawing, and Reheating Suggestions

When frozen, lentil soup will keep for six months in the freezer. However, do not wait this long before consuming the soup. The longer the soup is kept in the freezer, the higher the likelihood of flavor and texture changes. It is also worth noting that the consistency of thawed lentil soup will depend on the type of lentil you used. Green lentils, for instance, holds up well when frozen and thawed. You won’t get the same results with brown lentils because they hold more water.

To thaw the frozen lentil soup, take the container from the freezer and transfer it to the fridge. Leave the soup to thaw overnight. Once you’re ready to prep, pour the thawed soup into a saucepan and simmer over low heat for a few minutes or until piping hot. If the consistency of the soup is creamier before freezing, try adding a little broth or water to thin it out. Do not leave leftovers, never refreeze the defrosted soup because it will no longer keep well.

Summary

Who doesn’t love a bowl of lentil soup on a chilly night? It’s wholesome, heartwarming and oh so delicious! Can you freeze lentil soup? You can, with some prep of course! Just keep these storage tips in mind to extend the shelf life of this childhood favorite.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Portobello Mushrooms?

Portobello mushrooms have distinct meaty flavor and a chewy texture that makes them an ideal alternative to pork or beef. Unlike more delicate varieties of mushrooms, Portobello mushrooms have a longer shelf life thanks to their denser texture. However, any type of mushroom will turn slimy when improperly stored. What if you bought Portobello mushrooms in bulk? Can you freeze Portobello mushrooms?

Yes, Portobello mushrooms freeze so well. Of course, they have to be prepped properly to minimize texture or flavor changes. Prepping the mushrooms for freezing involves cleaning the Portobello mushrooms to remove deep-seated dirt.

Tips for Buying Mushrooms

When picking the mushrooms, avoid those with a musty or moldy odor. Mushrooms have a naturally woodsy, clean smell. Check the firmness of the mushrooms and avoid bruised, soggy, or discolored ones. Broad mushrooms such as Portobello mushrooms have a thick, fleshy, and firm texture.

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The underside of the Portobello mushroom, called the gills, should be firm and brown, not black.

How to Clean the Mushrooms for Freezing

Most chefs and cooking experts do not recommend rinsing the mushrooms in running water. Instead, they use a special brush to brush off unwanted debris. How you clean the mushrooms will be entirely up to you but if you need help, check out this quick video:

How to Freeze Portobello Mushrooms?

There are so many ways of prepping Portobello mushrooms prior to freezing and we are outlining each one! If you want to retain the natural flavors of the Portobello mushrooms, consider freezing the shrooms fresh. Do note that frozen fresh mushrooms should only be used in making soups, casseroles, and stews.

If you want to extend the shelf life of the Portobello mushrooms even further, steaming, sautéing, or blanching the Portobello mushrooms first prior to freezing is your best bet. Steaming, sautéing, or blanching the Portobello mushrooms allows you to use the mushroom in a variety of ways!

Freezing Raw and Chopped Portobello Mushrooms

Clean the mushroom by brushing off visible debris. With a sharp knife, trim the stem ends and remove the gills on the underside of the mushrooms. Once the Portobello mushrooms are clean, chop them into equal sizes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the chopped Portobello mushrooms evenly. Make sure the pieces are not touching each other. Stick the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze for an hour or two. After an hour or two, place the chopped Portobello mushrooms in a heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing. Write the date before sticking it flat in the freezer.

Freezing Raw and Whole Portobello Mushrooms

Clean the mushroom by brushing off visible debris. With a sharp knife, trim the stem ends and remove the gills on the underside of the mushrooms. You can freeze the raw and whole Portobello mushrooms by simply sticking them in the freezer or flash-freezing them first.

If you’d like to take the simpler route, just wrap each of the clean Portobello mushrooms in cling wrap then place them in a heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing. Write the date before sticking it flat in the freezer.

If you’d like to flash-freeze the raw Portobello mushrooms, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the Portobello mushrooms evenly. Make sure the mushrooms are not touching each other. Stick the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze the mushrooms for an hour or two.

Image used under Creative Commons from Quinn Dombrowski

After an hour or two, place the Portobello mushrooms in a heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing. Write the date before sticking it flat in the freezer.

Freezing Sautéd Portobello Mushrooms

This method will retain the firmness of the mushrooms the longest! Clean the mushroom by brushing off visible debris. With a sharp knife, trim the stem ends and remove the gills on the underside of the mushrooms. Slice or chop the mushrooms in equal sizes then sauté in butter over high heat in a skillet. Do not cook the mushrooms all the way through. Leave the mushrooms half-cooked so they’ll cook fully once you’re using them for your recipe.

After sautéing the mushrooms, place them on a plate, remove the excess oil and pat leftover oil dry with paper towels. Leave the sautéed mushrooms to cool completely. Once the mushrooms have cooled completely, place them in a heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing. Write the date before sticking it flat in the freezer.

Freezing Steamed Portobello Mushrooms

If you want to preserve the Portobello mushrooms’ flavor, this is the perfect method to try! Start by prepping the mushrooms for steaming. Clean the mushroom by brushing off visible debris. With a sharp knife, trim the stem ends and remove the gills on the underside of the mushrooms.

Chop the mushrooms or leave them whole, if desired. Then, place the mushrooms in a steamer basket or a double boiler and steam for several minutes. For whole mushrooms, steam for five minutes. For chopped or sliced mushrooms, they should be ready in 3 minutes or less. After steaming the mushroom, soak them in a pot of ice water. This will stop the cooking process. If you want to preserve the color of the mushrooms, soak them first in a lemon juice and water solution prior to steaming.

After the ice bath, shake the excess water and pat the steamed mushroom dry with paper towels. You’re ready to pack the mushrooms for freezing. Place them in a heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing. Write the date before sticking it flat in the freezer.

Freezing Blanched Portobello Mushrooms

Blanching the Portobello mushrooms first prior to freezing will stretch their shelf life the longest. It’s a simple method that involves parboiling or blanching the mushrooms. Start by prepping the mushrooms. Clean the mushroom by brushing off visible debris. With a sharp knife, trim the stem ends and remove the gills on the underside of the mushrooms. Place the clean mushrooms in a colander and boil a pot of water. Submerge the colander into the boiling water and blanch for 1 to 2 minutes. Do not cook the mushrooms fully or they’ll turn soggy once defrosted!

After 1 to 2 minutes, give the mushrooms an ice bath. This will stop the cooking process. After the ice bath, shake the excess water and pat the steamed mushroom dry with paper towels. Place the mushrooms in a heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing. Write the date before sticking it flat in the freezer.

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Shelf Life and Thawing Suggestions

The shelf life of the frozen Portobello mushrooms will depend on the preservation method you used prior to freezing. Raw Portobello mushrooms will last in the freezer for at least 10 months. Sauteed Portobello mushrooms have a shorter shelf life, about 3 to 6 months. Steamed Portobello mushrooms will keep for up to a year in the freezer, just like blanched Portobello mushrooms.

Thawing the frozen Portobello mushrooms is easy. Just transfer the mushrooms to the fridge and leave to defrost overnight. Once defrosted, the mushrooms are ready for any recipe!

Summary

Can you freeze Portobello mushrooms? As you can see, Portobello mushrooms freeze so well and there are so many ways to do it too. With this guide, you can take advantage of sales and get as much Portobello mushrooms as you can. Just freeze the rest for later!

Dairy

Can You Freeze Sweetened Condensed Milk?

We’ve talked about freezing evaporated milk previously but what about condensed milk? Can you freeze sweetened condensed milk?

Condensed milk, which is often used in desserts, has a long shelf life. This dairy product is made by removing the water content of the milk using a special vacuum process, giving the product a distinct goopy consistency. It is also extra sweet thanks to all that sugar.

Since the condensed milk contains small amounts of water and plenty of sugar, it will keep so well in storage. In addition, the milk has been heat-processed to kill the harmful microbes that could otherwise cause the product to go bad quickly! But if you have a lot of condensed milk tins that are nearing their expiry date, you can always freeze the condensed milk.

How to Freeze Sweetened Condensed Milk?

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Sweetened condensed milk is often sold in cans and the container is not ideal for freezing. You have to transfer the milk in a freezer-safe container first. We highly suggest dividing the condensed milk into manageable portions prior to freezing. This way, defrosting the frozen milk is less of a hassle.

You can use small resealable baggies or a couple of ice cube trays as a container for the condensed milk. Just open a can of sweetened condensed milk and pour the contents carefully into your desired container. Do not fill the container to the brim; leave about 2 inches of space to give the condensed milk enough room to expand as it freezes. If you’re using a resealable plastic bag, remove the excess air and then seal. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

If you’re using ice cube trays, place the filled trays in the freezer. Leave the condensed milk to freeze for two hours or more. Once the condensed milk is frozen solid, take the ice cube tray from the freezer. Gently transfer the condensed milk cubes in a resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out the excess air and then seal. Write the storage date then stick flat in the freezer.

How to Make Sweetened Condensed Milk

Why buy sweetened condensed milk when you can make this at home using the best ingredients? It’s surprisingly easy! Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:

7 Ways to Use Leftover Sweetened Condensed Milk

Hot Drinks

Give your favorite drinks, such as coffee and hot choco, a rich, sweet taste by adding a little condensed milk. You can also mix the leftover condensed milk to iced coffee and milk teas. If you froze leftover condensed milk in an ice cube tray, try adding one cube first. You don’t want the drink to become too sweet!

Baked Goods

You can use sweetened condensed milk as an ingredient in baked goods such as cornbread and pound cake. The sweetened condensed milk will impart a subtle sweetness to the baked goods.

Sweet French Toast

Brighten your mornings with a serving of yummy French toast! But rather than going for the traditional recipe, use your leftover condensed milk to whip up a custard-y, sweet French toast! This breakfast treat will go perfectly with your morning coffee.

Fresh Fruit Topping

Give sour fruits a creamy, sweet flavor with sweetened condensed milk. Just prep the fresh fruits as you normally would then drizzle a spoonful of sweetened condensed milk and you have a healthy dessert to share with the whole family. Sweetened condensed milk pairs perfectly with tart fruits like strawberries!

Image used under Creative Commons from Paul Alexander

Pie Fillings

If you love custard pie fillings then you can make use of your leftover sweetened condensed milk to make a classic lemon pie, custard pie, or Bill Smith’s Atlantic Beach Pie! Just follow your favorite pie recipe as you normally would then add the sweetened condensed milk to the filling.

Sweet Milk Tea

Give your favorite hot tea a sweet, creamy flavor with a cube or two of frozen sweetened condensed milk! The cubed sweetened condensed milk will melt instantly, giving your hot tea a refreshing twist.

Homemade Ice Cream

If you scream for ice cream then you can make this classic dessert at home using leftover sweetened condensed milk. Just follow your favorite ice cream recipe (Nigella’s no churn ice cream recipe sounds dreamy) and add sweetened condensed milk to give the ice cream a thick, creamy texture and delightfully sweet flavor!

Shelf Life and Thawing Suggestions

Frozen sweetened condensed milk will keep for 3 to 6 months. Keep the temperature at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit to minimize flavor changes. If you can, consume your supply as soon as possible for optimal flavor.

If you’re using the sweetened condensed milk for hot drinks, there is no need to thaw it at all. Just drop a cube or two of sweetened condensed milk directly to the hot drink and the milk will melt on its own. If the sweetened condensed milk requires thawing, just transfer the container to the fridge. Leave the frozen sweetened condensed milk to thaw overnight. If the milk solids are separating from the liquids, give the thawed sweetened condensed milk a vigorous whisk until smooth.

Summary

Can you freeze sweetened condensed milk? Of course, you can! Condensed milk has a long shelf life as it is but it’s nice to know that you can freeze the product to extend its shelf life even more. Sweetened condensed milk has a lot of uses so make sure to keep a can or two in the pantry so you don’t run out.

Dairy

Can You Freeze Evaporated Milk?

Love making low-fat dishes using milk? If you do then you must have cans of evaporated milk in your pantry! Evaporated milk is a type of processed milk with 60% of its water content removed. This dairy product has a thick, creamy texture but it’s surprisingly low in fat, about 1/4 of the cream fat! Of course, certain brands offer light versions of evaporated milk so these products are even healthier and diet friendly.

Now, say you have cans or packs of evaporated milk that’s nearing their expiry date, can you freeze evaporated milk? There are times when a recipe calls for evaporated milk, not a full can. How do you store leftover evaporated milk?

The quick answer is yes, you can freeze evaporated milk. However, it is quite tricky to do so because freezing tends to cause separation between the milk solids and the liquids when thawed. When this happens, no amount of stirring would homogenize the ingredients back to the milk’s original texture. Still, if the milk solids separate from the liquids, the evaporated milk is still usable in cooking. As long as you are planning on using the evaporated milk for cooking then freezing should be a great way to store leftover or canned evaporated milk.

How to Freeze Evaporated Milk?

can you freeze evaporated milk

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Freezing Canned Evaporated Milk

Got several cans of evaporated milk sitting in the pantry? You can extend the shelf life of evaporated milk until you are ready to use up your stash by freezing it. However, you have to transfer the product to a freezer friendly container first. Tins do not hold up well in the freezer and are prone to bursting at cold temps.

To prepare the evaporated milk for freezing, punch a hole on either side of the top so the milk flows freely. Pour the evaporated milk into an opaque container with an airtight lid, leaving a couple of inches of space. You can also pour the evaporated milk in ice cube trays if you’d like to divide the milk into single serving portions. Cover the container with cling wrap then cover with the airtight lid. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer. This freezing instruction goes for leftover evaporated milk too. Just find a suitable container for the milk and you’re good to go.

Storage Tips for Evaporated Milk

If you bought cans of evaporated milk to save money, you might not use up your supply as quickly. To maximize your supply, always check the expiry dates of the products. Choose those with a long expiry date, about a year. If you have older cans of evaporated milk, use those first before using your newer stocks.

If for some reason the canned milk starts leaking or bulging, discard the product. Check the cans for dents, cracks, and rust, if you’re seeing these, throw out the cans. For newly bought cans of evaporated milk, place them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Ideally, store the unopened cans of evaporated milk in the cupboard or kitchen cabinet to prevent rusting.

Treat evaporated milk like fresh milk. You can store the milk in the fridge and it will stay fresh for up to 5 days. However, keep the container sealed because the evaporated milk has the tendency to absorb fridge odors and flavors.

5 Uses for Stored Evaporated Milk

Stored evaporated milk can be used in so many ways!

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Whip It!

You can turn thawed evaporated milk into whipped cream. Just thaw the frozen evaporated milk until it is fluid yet still cold. Then, pour the thawed evaporated milk in your mixer then beat at high speed until you get stiff peaks. Add vanilla and sugar to sweeten the whipped cream and use immediately.

Add to Your Favorite Drinks

From coffee to tea, hot chocolate to smoothies, you can use leftover evaporated milk to give your favorite drinks a creamy, rich taste! The best part? Evaporated milk contains less fat than regular milk so it’s the perfect additive to hot or cold drinks.

Ingredient in Baking

Do you love baking? You can use evaporated milk as a substitute for milk in bread recipes. You can also use leftover evaporated milk to whip up fudge, pies, and milk cookies.

Used in Cooking

Evaporated milk is a great ingredient in any recipe that calls for regular milk, heavy cream, and half-and-half. Evaporated milk won’t curdle at high temperatures so it’s the perfect milk sub for cooking. You can add your leftover evaporated milk in mashed potatoes, stews, and even mac n’ cheese!

Dressing, Soups, and Sauces

Evaporated milk adds richness and depth to different sauces and dressing. If you want to whip up an egg-free dressing for pasta or potato salad, use room temperature evaporated milk. You can also use evaporated milk as a substitute for regular or heavy milk for making cream soups and thick sauces.

Shelf Life and Thawing Suggestions

When kept in the freezer, evaporated milk will keep for at least 3 months. However, we recommend using up your supply as soon as possible for optimal flavor. There is no need to thaw the frozen evaporated milk when used in cooking. But if a recipe calls for room temperature evaporated milk, you can thaw the leftover milk by transferring it to the fridge. Leave the frozen evaporated milk to thaw overnight then rest for a few minutes before adding to the recipe.

Summary

Can you freeze evaporated milk? Freezing may not the best storage option for evaporated milk but you can try it when you are out of options. Just keep these tips in mind so the milk will remain usable after it’s been frozen and thawed.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Bok Choy?

Bok choy adds a delicious crunch and a healthy dose of nutrients to stews, stir-fry, and soups! But if you have leftover boy choy, how do you store it without turning this vegetable to mush? Can you freeze Bok choy?

The problem with storing Bok choy is that the vegetable tends to wilt as soon as it is kept in the fridge. However, blanching Bok choy, or most green, leafy vegetables for that matter, helps retain the original texture of the product. There will be minor texture changes but only because the water content of the vegetable has crystallized and thawed after freezing. Flash freezing the vegetable is another great way of preserving Bok choy!

How to Freeze Bok Choy?

Start by choosing the freshest, greenest bok choy you can find in the market. Avoid bruised or yellowing bunches of bok choy. Wash the vegetable under running water to remove any dirt or debris. If the Bok choy has not been trimmed yet, cut the ends of the stems using a sharp knife. For large bunches of bok choy, cut the tough white base near the leaf base. Cut the Bok choy to size and set aside. Now you’re ready to prep the vegetable for freezing.

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Blanching and Freezing Fresh Bok Choy

This process involves boiling the bok choy for several minutes then submerging the vegetable in an ice bath. The ice bath will lock in the flavor and color of the vegetable while also stopping the cooking process.

Boil a pot of water over medium-high heat. Place the bok choy in a steamer basket or a colander then submerge the basket in the pot. Blanch the bok choy for 3 minutes or until the leaves turn a vivid green. After 3 minutes, remove the basket from the pot and submerge it into ice water until completely cool.

Shake the excess moisture out of the leave then pat the bok choy dry with paper towel. Place the vegetable in a resealable plastic bag, leaving about an inch of space before sealing. Remove the excess air then seal the plastic bag. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Flash Freezing Fresh Bok Choy

This process involves pre-freezing the prepared bok choy before freezing the vegetable for long-term to extend its shelf life.

Prepare the vegetable as you normally would (refer to our prep instruction above), making sure to pat the bok choy completely dry before flash freezing. Get a baking sheet and line it with wax paper. Place the bok choy leaves on the baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure none of the leaves are touching each other. Stick the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze for at least 2 hours.

After a couple of hours, take the baking sheet out of the freezer. Place the bok choy leaves in a resealable plastic bag, leaving about an inch of space. Press the plastic bag to remove excess air then seal. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

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Freezing Cooked Bok Choy

If you have leftover bok choy (steamed, stuffed, stir-fried, etc.), you can still freeze it for later. Just place the bok choy in a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid. If the cooked bok choy comes with sauces or other trimmings, you might have to freeze those separately. Close the container with the airtight lid, write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Shelf Life and Thawing Suggestions

When stored in the freezer, bok choy will keep for 4 to 6 months, maybe longer if the temperature is kept at a steady 0 degree Fahrenheit. There is no need to thaw the bok choy when used in cooking. Just add the bok choy directly into the dish you’re cooking and it will defrost quickly. But if you’d like to thaw the vegetable still, you can. Just do it quickly. Submerge the frozen bok choy in a bowl of tap water for a couple of hours and it’ll be ready for your recipe.

Summary

Can you freeze bok choy? Bok choy is not available all year round so it’s great that you can freeze this vegetable for later! Do note, however, that bok choy is quite delicate so proper prep is a must to retain its naturally crunchy texture.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Sweet Banana Peppers?

Sweet banana peppers are known for their distinctive bright yellow color, mildly tangy flavor, and banana-like shape. This sweet pepper variety is often served stuffed, added in cooking or pickled. Since it’s abundant in the summer season, sweet banana peppers are often bought in bulk. So what if you bought more sweet banana peppers than you can handle? Can you freeze sweet banana peppers?

Sweet banana peppers freeze wonderfully as long they are prepared the right way. Do note that frozen sweet banana peppers should be strictly used in cooking. The thawed peppers could retain their natural flavors although they will lose their texture.

can you freeze sweet banana peppers

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These types of sweet peppers have a high water content. Freezing the peppers causes the water particles to crystallize. This triggers the contraction of the cell, which causes the peppers to develop a soggy texture. This means once frozen, you cannot serve the sweet banana peppers stuffed or added fresh to sandwiches, garnishes, and hors-d’oeuvres.

How to Freeze Sweet Banana Peppers?

Freezing Fresh Sweet Banana Peppers

Start by choosing the ripest, freshest sweet banana peppers and then rinsing them well under running water. Using a sharp knife, cut each stem off and slice the sweet peppers open. Shake the seeds out and chop the peppers to your desired size.

If you’re using the peppers strictly for cooking, you can remove the skin too. Leaving the skins on helps retain the peppers’ crisp texture.

Now, get a baking sheet and line it with wax paper. Spread the cut sweet peppers on the wax pepper and stick the baking sheet in the freezer. The pepper pieces should not touch each other. Leave the sweet peppers to freeze for several hours to overnight.

Once the sweet peppers are frozen solid, take the baking sheet out of the freezer. Prepare several heavy-duty resealable plastic bags. Place the cut peppers into the plastic bag and remove as much air as possible prior to sealing. Seal the plastic bag, write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Freezing Cooked Sweet Banana Peppers

Assuming that the sweet peppers have been stuffed, char-grilled, or roasted prior to freezing, leave the cooked peppers to cool completely. Once the sweet banana peppers have cooled completely, place them in an airtight rigid plastic container. Cover the container with cling wrap prior to sealing. Seal the container, write the storage date, then stick in the freezer.

Other Ways of Preserving Sweet Banana Peppers

Apart from freezing, you can also preserve the sweet banana peppers through canning, pickling, drying.

Canning Sweet Banana Peppers

Prepare the sweet peppers by cutting off the stems and shaking out the seeds. Cut the peppers to your desired sizes. Prepare a lined baking sheet and place the sweet peppers in a single layer. Bake the peppers at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 minutes or until the skin begins to blister. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and give them an ice bath. The skin should peel off easily at this point.

Sterilize several canning jars by boiling them in water for at least 3 minutes. Then, place the chili peppers in the canning jar, along with about ¼ teaspoon of salt. Fill the canning jar with hot water, leaving about an inch of space. Close the jar with the lid and secure with a lid ring. Set the jar in the pressure canner and set the pressure canner accordingly.

Pickling Banana Sweet Peppers

Make a brine by stirring 3 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a cup of white vinegar. Pour the solution into a pot and simmer over medium heat until the ingredients dissolved completely. Leave the brine to cool.

Prepare the sweet peppers by cutting off the stems and shaking out the seeds. Cut the peppers to your desired sizes. Place the sweet peppers into canning jars. Add your favorite spices then pour the brine until the peppers are covered with the liquid. Close the lid and store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

can you freeze sweet banana peppers

Image used under Creative Commons from Cheryl

Drying Banana Sweet Peppers

Dehydrating or drying the banana sweet peppers is a terrific way to preserve the vegetable while enhancing their natural flavors. Prepare the sweet peppers by cutting off the stems and shaking out the seeds. Cut the peppers to your desired sizes.

There are many ways of drying the sweet peppers, you can either air-dry or oven-dry the peppers as well as use a food dehydrator.

Air-Drying: This is the simplest and easiest way to dry any type of vegetables. Just spread the cut pepper on a flat container. Set the container somewhere that gets a lot of airflow and sunshine. Depending on the humidity in the air, it could take 2 to 4 weeks to dry the sweet peppers fully.

Oven-Drying: Set the prepped peppers on a lined baking sheet in a single layer. Place the peppers in the oven and bake at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 to 2 hours or until fully dried. Leave the oven door open slightly to allow the moisture to dissipate. Check the sweet peppers every 30 minutes and rotate the pepper pieces for even drying.

Once the sweet peppers are dry, you can pack them in a resealable plastic container. To rehydrate the peppers, submerge them in water.

Shelf Life and Thawing Suggestions

When kept in the freezer, fresh sweet banana peppers will keep for 6 months to 12 months. This goes especially if the temperature is kept at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit. For cooked banana sweet peppers, the shelf life is much shorter, about 4 to 6 months. Frozen sweet banana peppers should be consumed as soon as possible for optimal flavor.

To thaw frozen and cooked sweet banana peppers, just transfer the container to the fridge. Leave the peppers to thaw for several hours to overnight. For frozen raw sweet banana peppers, you can add the peppers directly to the dish you’re cooking.

Summary

Can you freeze sweet banana peppers? Sweet banana peppers may be tricky to store but they do freeze wonderfully when prepared properly! Just keep these storage tips in mind to extend the shelf life of sweet banana peppers.

Bread & Baked Goods

Can You Freeze Lemon Meringue Pie?

A sweet finish to a lovely meal is always welcome especially if it’s a generous slice of lemon meringue pie! And making a meringue pie is by no means a walk in the park! So what if you have leftovers? Can you freeze lemon meringue pie?

As you know, meringue is made from whipped egg whites. Since egg whites are sensitive to freezing temperatures, they do not hold up well in the freezer. In addition, the meringue could turn rubbery or crusty once it’s been frozen and thawed. In some cases, the meringue becomes too soggy when defrosted.

That being said, it is possible to freeze a lemon meringue pie. As long as you’re okay with the possible changes in the meringue’s texture or flavor, you can prep leftover pies for freezing. We do recommend making and adding the meringue to the pie only when you are ready to serve.

Image used under Creative Commons from jules

Different Types of Meringues

Italian Meringue

This type of meringue is made by beating hot sugar syrup into beaten egg whites gradually. It’s the most popular meringue variant and is often used as frostings for cakes and pies.

Swiss Meringue

This meringue is made by simmering dissolved sugar and egg whites together and then beating the mixture in an electric mixer. Swiss meringue is often used as a base for buttercream frosting.

French Meringue

This type of meringue is made by adding ultrafine sugar to uncooked egg whites gradually. Then, the mixture is beaten until it forms stiff, shiny peaks. French meringue has a characteristically crisp and light texture.

TIP: Meringue is often baked or cooked. Italian and Swiss meringue are cooked while French meringue is baked.

How to Make Lemon Meringue Pie

Baking Tips

Avoiding Meringue “Weeping”

The meringue topping tends to “weep” when the pie is left standing in a humid room for too long. You can avoid weeping by cooking the meringue before it is added to the pie. In addition, cover the filling completely so the meringue won’t shrink.

Refrigeration could also cause even the most stable meringue to weep. You can avoid this by serving the pie immediately or leaving the pie to stand in a draft-free spot before serving. If a pie is left untouched for a few hours, prep it for refrigeration or freezing.

Sometimes meringue weeping is caused by the improper sugar syrup temperature. You have to boil the sugar syrup to a soft ball stage (120c or 248F) before being added to the egg whites. The egg whites should be beaten to stiff peaks prior to the addition of the syrup.

Keep the Lemon Filling Hot

Always keep the lemon filling hot before spreading the meringue over. If the lemon filling cools completely, it creates a melty layer between itself and the meringue, causing the meringue to sweat.

Tart Filling

Love a sharp-tasting lemon filling? Try adding the lemon juice just as the curd filling cooks so the flavor remains fresh and tart! It also helps to reduce the contact with the cooking starch because this thickening agent tames the acidity of the lemon juice.

Image used under Creative Commons from jules

How to Freeze Lemon Meringue Pie

Freezing Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie

If you’re making the meringue pie from scratch, leave the lemon custard filling to cool completely prior to freezing. Do not add the meringue topping just yet, do this only when you are ready to serve. If you don’t give the pie enough time to cool, the pie could turn soggy.

Once the pie has cooled completely, place it in a baking dish and stick in the freezer. Leave the pie to freeze for at least 2 hours, no cover needed. When the pie is frozen stiff, take it out of the freezer and wrap it in several layers of cling wrap. Leave no spot uncovered to prevent freezer burns. After wrapping the pie in cling wrap, place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Write the storage date, seal, and stick in the freezer.

Freezing Leftovers or Pre-made Lemon Meringue Pie

For leftovers or pre-made meringue pie, make sure the pie has cooled completely prior to freezing. Cut the leftovers into serving portions and place them in a freezer-safe plate. Stick the pieces of meringue pie in the freezer until they are frozen stiff (about 2 hours of freezing). Once the meringue pie pieces are frozen solid, take the plate out of the freezer and place the pie pieces in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Write the storage date, seal, and stick in the freezer.

Shelf Life and Thawing Suggestions

When frozen, lemon meringue pie will keep for 3 to 4 months. However, consume the pie as soon as possible for optimal flavor.

When it comes to thawing the frozen meringue pie, just transfer a portion of the pie to the fridge. Leave the pie to thaw for several hours to overnight then serve. No need to reheat the pie, it’s ready to eat as soon as it is thawed.

Leave no leftovers because refreezing is not recommended for thawed lemon meringue pie.

Summary

Baking a lemon meringue pie as a make-ahead dessert? Can you freeze lemon meringue pie? Although freezing is not a recommended storage option for lemon meringue pie, it’s great to know that it can be done with little to no changes in flavor. Just keep all the tips we’ve outlined above to extend the shelf life of lemon meringue pie!

Dessert

Can You Freeze Bread Pudding?

Bread pudding is a quick and easy dessert you can make using leftover bread! But what if you made too much bread pudding, which is often the case? Can you freeze bread pudding? Although bread pudding contains sensitive ingredients such as bread, butter, eggs, and milk, it freezes surprisingly well. That’s because the sauce of the pudding can be added until you are ready to serve.

How you prepare the bread pudding prior to freezing will affect the overall texture and flavor of the dessert once it’s been thawed and reheated. As long as the bread pudding has been prepared well, you can expect great results after.

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How to Freeze Bread Pudding?

If you’re making bread pudding from scratch, leave the pudding to cool completely prior to freezing. Do not pour the sauce into the bread pudding; you can do this once you’re ready to serve. Once cooled completely, cut the bread pudding into single serving portions. This will help save space in the freezer while also making thawing less of a hassle.

After dividing the bread pudding into serving portions, wrap each portion in plastic wrap. Make sure the pudding is wrapped completely to prevent freezer burns. After wrapping in cling wrap, wrap the bread pudding again in heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Finally, place the wrapped bread pudding in a freezer-safe container. Seal the container, write the storage date then stick in the freezer. As for the sauce, you can also freeze it by placing it in a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid. Cover the top of the container with cling wrap, seal, and write the label.

Shelf Life, Thawing and Reheating Suggestions

When kept in the freezer, bread pudding will keep for 2 to 4 months. That being said, we don’t recommend waiting this long before serving the bread pudding. The freezing temperature will alter the consistency and possibly, the flavor, of the bread pudding. Consume the pudding as soon as possible and never refreeze the leftovers.

Now if you’re ready to feast on the pudding, you can defrost it by transferring the pudding to the fridge. Leave the pudding to thaw overnight. Once the pudding is thawed completely, it may harden a little bit, that’s normal. Adding the sauce during the reheating process will slowly soften the bread pudding.

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You can reheat the bread pudding using the microwave or the oven. If you are using the oven, you have to reheat the bread pudding in 10-second intervals. If you nuked the pudding too long, the bread will harden and there is no way to correct this. Just place the bread pudding on a microwave-safe plate, drizzle the sauce and reheat at 10-second intervals until fully warmed.

If you’re using the oven, preheat the oven to 350°Farenheit and place the pudding on a baking sheet. Drizzle the sauce and bake for 10 to 20 minutes or until fully warmed. If for some reason the custard of the bread pudding has dried out while reheating it, try adding a little ice cream or heavy cream to the pudding before serving.

Summary

Bread pudding is not only delicious, it’s so easy to make too! The best part? This dessert freezes well so you do not have to wonder if can you freeze bread pudding. Also, there are so many tricks to try to restore the pudding’s original texture once it’s been defrosted and reheated.