Can You Freeze Cooked Quinoa?
Can you freeze quinoa? If you’re thinking about cooking quinoa in bulk and freezing so you can have it easily available later, this article is for you.
Quinoa has been enjoyed for centuries in the Andes Mountains of Peru. This grain-like product is high in protein and contains a number of vitamins and nutrients. Although quinoa is gaining popularity in the United States, it may not as readily available as more common American foods.
Those who enjoy this food often seek ways to compensate for lack of general availability by exploring methods to freeze cooked quinoa. Practicing good methods of freezing prepared product also gives consumers the option of taking advantage of local specials on quinoa.
Although quinoa can be just as delicious after being frozen and thawed, you may not be inclined to freeze foods. This does not present a problem as all three types of quinoa have a rather long shelf life. The white, red and black quinoa can be kept in the pantry or refrigerator for a period of 2 to 3 years. An airtight container should be used for both storage locations to preserve freshness and protect against insects.
Quinoa is often sold in bulk quantities and freezing cooked product can help prevent the quinoa from spoiling. If the freezing process is done correctly, previously frozen quinoa can taste just as good as freshly cooked quinoa. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze quinoa:
Freezing cooked quinoa allows you to keep servings of this versatile food on hand for salads, side dishes or as an ingredient in the main dish. You can enjoy quinoa almost any time by following these simple steps.
Image used under Creative Commons from Amy Stephenson
Cooking the Quinoa
Begin the process by cooking the quinoa. Use a large saucepan and add one part quinoa to two parts water. Bring the water to a boil and lower the heat and cover the pan. allow the mixture to simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. The quinoa is done when all water is absorbed. Use a fork to fluff the cooked quinoa.
Preparing Quinoa for Deep Freezing
Once you have finished cooking the quinoa, you have to let it cool at room temperature. It is a best to spread the product on a baking sheet as this will facilitate even cooling and allow the product to cool faster. When the quinoa is sufficiently cooled, you can divide the batch into your desired portions.
Packing the Quinoa for Freezing
Many people use sandwich size zip-lock bags as they can hold up to 2 cups of cook quinoa. Push as much air out of the small bags are possible. This will help avoid freezer burn and allow the quinoa to freeze more fully. Firmly seal the small bags and place them into a larger zip-lock freezer-quality bags.
Write the date on the large bag to help you keep track of product life. Frozen, cooked quinoa has a freezer life of up to 2 months.
When you are ready to enjoy some quinoa, remove as many bags as needed and allow them to defrost at room temperature. This process will generally take about 1 to 2 hours. Once the quinoa is completely thawed, prepare as desired and enjoy.
An alternative method of defrosting quinoa is to remove the product from the bag and empty into a bowl. Microwave the quinoa for about 1 minute and it will be ready to eat.
Image used under Creative Commons from Meal Makeover Moms
Quinoa can be used in a variety of recipes and has tremendous nutritional values. It’s also gluten-free so its the perfect grain for people suffering from celiac disease.
The fact is, it does not matter if you prefer to cook and freeze or prepare your quinoa fresh, it is a great tasting food that is easily prepared. Now that you know how can you freeze quinoa, you can keep the excess and enjoy some quinoa any time of the day.