Category: Grains

Grains

Can You Freeze Uncooked Rice?

For most people, rice is life and a meal isn’t complete without it. In the US, long grain white rice and brown rice are the two most popular types of rice consumed by millions of Americans.

Rice is abundant in most regions and thankfully, this grain is so easy to store cooked or uncooked! You can freeze uncooked rice in its own packaging or packed in a freezer-safe container.

Image used under Creative Commons from Ruocaled

Because uncooked rice is freezer-friendly, the texture won’t be altered once the thawed rice has been cooked. When kept in the freezer, uncooked rice will keep for up to 18 months. However, the USA Rice Federation recommends consuming frozen rice within six months for best results.

How to Freeze Uncooked Rice?

The best way to freeze uncooked rice is to pack each serving in a box or a rigid plastic container. You want to make sure the uncooked rice is free from moisture before packing.

To begin, pour the rice into a freezer-safe container and seal tightly. If the fresh rice is still in its original box, you can chuck the rice straight into the freezer in its original packaging.

Image used under Creative Commons from stu_spivack

After packing the rice, get a marker and label the packaging with the date. Place the container flatly in the freezer so it’ll thaw much quickly.

How to Defrost Frozen Uncooked Rice?

The best way to defrost frozen uncooked rice is to transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge and letting the grain thaw for several hours. You can also put the container under running water to defrost but make sure the lid is airtight and secure.

Finally, you can also leave the rice to thaw at room temperature, just place the container on the table and leave it to defrost for a few hours.

Summary

Rice is easy to store and even easier to cook. Now that you know how to store fresh rice properly, you can keep a large batch of this grain and enjoy it for future dishes!

Grains

Can You Freeze Oatmeal?

If you’re like me, a bowl of oatmeal is a delicious and nutritious way of starting the day. While preparing oatmeal can take anywhere between 5 to 25 minutes, depending on what oats you use, there’s not always enough time in the morning. Many people, like me, prefer old fashioned oats instead of quick oats, and that means about 25 minutes of cooking time. What if you could make the oatmeal ahead of time and just reheat it in the morning? That would be a lifesaver, right? And it is.

Oatmeal is one of the dishes I prepare on a regular basis. It can easily last 5 days in the fridge and you can freeze the rest for later. Freezing doesn’t require any additional effort, besides transferring the oatmeal into containers and chucking them into the freezer. That means you can try it with your next batch of oatmeal and see how you like the results.

Oatmeal with strawberries and yogurt

How to Freeze Oatmeal?

  1. Cook the oatmeal. Follow the recipe you normally do. I do mine in a slow cooker with some chopped apples, but the recipe doesn’t really matter that much. If you like adding fresh fruit to your oatmeal while cooking, don’t add it right away. Freezing the fruits will change their texture and the taste will suffer. Instead, add the fruit when reheating.
    Just cooked oatmeal
  2. Cooldown. Let the oatmeal cool down to room temperature. If the freezer container’s you’re going to use can handle warm food, feel free to transfer the oatmeal to the containers right away. Oatmeal will drop temperature faster in small containers than in a big pot.
  3. Portion oatmeal into containers. Since you cannot thaw half of a container, make sure each container has a meal-sized amount of oatmeal. The easiest way of dividing the oatmeal into portions is by multiplying your recipe by X and then dividing the cooked oatmeal into X containers. Leave a bit of head-space in each container in case the oatmeal expands when frozen. Add a label with name and date to each container if needed.
    Oatmeal in containers
  4. Throw the containers into the freezer.

That’s it. The process is really simple and takes little additional time. Now let’s take a look at how to defrost and reheat the oatmeal.

How to Defrost Oatmeal?

Here are a few options when it comes to defrosting frozen oatmeal:

  1. Overnight in the fridge. The standard way of defrosting food works well for oatmeal too. Transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge in the evening. By the morning, the oatmeal has thawed completely. Put it on a plate so you don’t have to wipe the thawed water from the shelf.
  2. On the counter. If you forgot to put the oatmeal into the fridge in the evening, all is not lost. If you have an hour or so, depending on the amount of oatmeal and the shape of the container, you can leave the container at room temperature to defrost. To speed things up even more, you can submerge the container in cold or lukewarm water. Reheat the thawed oatmeal immediately after defrosting.
  3. Microwave. Defrosting in a microwave is always an option, although not the healthiest one. Use the defrosting setting and thaw in small time increments. Add a glass of water into the microwave so the oatmeal won’t dry out.

How to Reheat Oatmeal?

Reheating oatmeal on the stove takes a few minutes and there’s no point in rushing it. Trying to rush the process will only result in burned oatmeal.

  1. Start off on low heat and add a few teaspoons of water or milk. We start off on low heat so if the oatmeal is not completely defrosted, it has some time to finish the process. Some liquid in form of water or milk is needed so the oatmeal won’t burn. Add the oatmeal and use a fork to mash and mix it with the water or milk you added. Make sure it’s well mixed. Add more water or milk if needed to get desired consistency but make sure to add it in small increments, about 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time. If you add too much, you will end up with either runny oatmeal or a longer cooking time.
  2. Switch to medium heat and warm up the oatmeal to the desired temperature. Make sure to stir it as often as possible, so it doesn’t burn. No need to bring the oatmeal to a boil, just make sure it’s warm enough to eat.
  3. Enjoy your oatmeal.
Grains

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:

How to 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.

can you freeze quinoa

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.

How to Defrost Frozen Quinoa?

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.

Cooking quinoa

Image used under Creative Commons from Meal Makeover Moms

Summary

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.

Grains

Can You Freeze Flour?

Can you freeze flour? For many people, storing flour in the freezer is an effective means of preserving the quality and extending the shelf life of flour. If you want to become one of them, read on!

Flour is a pantry staple in many homes. All-purpose flour is still the go-to for many home cooks, but specialty flours such as gluten-free, whole-wheat, bread, and cake flours are gaining in popularity. Some of these flours have a shorter shelf life than all-purpose flour and will go rancid within months. Another concern for many households, especially in warmer climates, is the possibility for the flour to become infested with bugs.

All types of flour can be stored in the freezer. Typically, all-purpose flour will remain good on the shelf for up to 2 years after milling if unopened. The package should be stamped with a best-by date.

Once opened, all-purpose flour should be used within approximately one year. Whole wheat and specialty flours typically have shorter shelf lives, up to a few months when stored properly. The less-processed flours, such as whole wheat, contain more unsaturated oils which can turn rancid quickly.

All varieties of flour should be stored in clean, air-tight containers in a cool, dry location. Storing flour in the refrigerator or freezer can extend the shelf life of the product, up to about one year. Especially for specialty flours, which are more expensive and sometimes less frequently used, freezer storage is a good option. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze flour:

Flour

Image used under Creative Commons from Rebecca Siegel

How to Freeze Flour?

Freezing flour will kill any organisms or eggs that may be present in the product. Freezing times ranging from two weeks to six months are often recommended in warmer climates, where the bugs are most likely to hatch and infest the flour. Freezing flour will also keep it safe from bugs that could invade it if stored in a cabinet. If pests are a problem in your area, storing flour and other dry goods in the freezer may help prevent an infestation.

Before freezing flour, it should be tightly wrapped in a moisture-proof product, such as plastic freezer bags. Flour should never be frozen in its original paper packaging unless special care is taken to ensure the paper cannot get wet. Moisture will cause the flour to spoil.

An air-tight container should be used, for optimal storage. Flour can be frozen in large or small batches, depending on need. Because flour contains little to no moisture, it will not harden in the freezer, so you will be able to remove small quantities from a larger bag easily. Freezing will not affect the taste or texture of the flour.

How to Defrost Frozen Flour?

Generally speaking, once removed from the freezer, flour should be allowed to come to room temperature before using. Failure to allow it to come to room temperature could affect the texture of your food.

For example, using flour that is too cool may result in sticky bread dough, not appropriate for kneading. This, in turn, would require more flour, which affects the ultimate flavor and texture of the resulting bread. However, some cooks like to use chilled flour for pasty products such as pie crust, saying it results in a flakier texture.

Flour can still spoil in the freezer, and before using you should check your flour for freshness. A sour or rancid odor is a sign your flour is not still good to use. If the texture, odor, or flavor does not seem right, the flour should be discarded.

Summary

When it comes to freezing flour, the whole process is surprisingly quick and straightforward. But as long as you know the proper steps on how can you freeze flour, you can extend the shelf life of this cooking staple! So go ahead, freeze your excess flour to avoid waste.

 

Grains

Can You Freeze Corn On The Cob?

Ever wondered about freezing corn on the cob? If you did and you don’t know whether you can freeze corn or not, probably you will find this article helpful. Why would one consider freezing corn? Well, there are at least two choices. First is when you’ve got too many fresh corn cobs from your garden. Second on is when there’s this big sale at a super market where you usually buy corn and you would like to buy way more ears of corn than you’d be able to use in reasonable time (without that corn going bad). Either way, you can freeze corn. There are at least a couple of ways to freeze corn, so I suggest you test each one of them on your own, examine the results you’ll get and choose your favorite one.

Corn on the cob
(credit: Phil Roeder)

Freezing corn on the cob – plain and simple method without blanching

This method requires almost no work. To start, you take each ear of corn you would like to freeze and you cut off its sharp end, below the cob (leave the husks and silks in place). Now you just need to wrap each ear separately using a plastic wrap or freezer wrap and put them into the freezer. If you plan to keep them there for a longer period of time, make sure you wrap each one a couple of times, or put all of them into a freezer bag. When they are needed, you can thaw them in the microwave. Once thawed, you can remove husks and silks and it’s ready to be consumed.

Here’s where I found this method.

Freezing corn on the cob with blanching

This method is definitely more time-consuming than the one mentioned earlier, but you may find it more successful in certain cases (e.g. if you would like to freeze corn for quite a long time, like a couple of months). First off, start by removing all the silks and husks. Now take a pot, pour in water (to about half the pot), add two tablespoons of sugar and bring the pot to a full boil. Then add the cobs to the solution, bring it back to a boil and cook it for a few minutes, until the cobs will turn darker yellow. You might need to turn each cob over in the pot so they will heat evenly. Once done, transfer the cobs into very cold water (possibly with ice cubes), so they will cool thoroughly. Then dry each cob and foil-wrap individually. Put wrapped cobs into a freezer bag and then into the freezer. This way you can easily take as many cobs from the freezer as you need at a time. Thaw them on the counter or using a microwave.

Here’s where I found this method.

Freezing corn kernels

This method is very similar to the last one, so make sure to read the description above before reading this. First off, remove husks and as much silk as you can. Then you need to bring a half-full pot of water to a boil, add the prepared cobs, bring it back to a boil and keep them in boiling water for a couple of minutes (usually 4-6 minutes). After that transfer those cobs into ice-cold water for few (6-8) minutes and then drain them. Now it’s time to cut the kernels off each cob. You can use this using a sharp knife. You can also remove them in any other way, depending on your preferences. If needed, separate the kernels into individual kernels. Then it’s time to transfer those kernels into a freezer ziplock bag (or a bag that you’re using for vacuum sealing), remove as much air as you can (a straw might be helpful) from the bag and seal it tightly. Now you just need to label the bag and you can put it into the freezer. Thaw on the counter or using a microwave.

Here’s where I found this method.

Summary
As I’ve mentioned, there are at least a couple different ways to freeze corn. Try all of them out and pick on that yields the best results. As you can see, the answer to the question “can you freezer corn on the cob?” is affirmative.

Grains

Can You Freeze Cooked Rice?

Cooking rice takes time. While cooking white rice takes about 25 minutes and 45 minutes for brown rice. Some days, there’s not enough time to wait for the rice to cook. We just want to put together a quick meal and relax in the evening. Because of that, we often choose quick and not so healthy meals instead of something nutritious that takes more time to prepare. Fortunately, freezing cooked grains is a thing and can be a real lifesaver. Enter freezing cooked rice.

Cooking big batches of rice takes exactly as much time as cooking a meal-size portion. You can take advantage of that fact and cook a bigger batch on a weekend and freeze the leftovers. This way you’ll have cooked rice on weeknights ready in a few minutes. If you’re interested in freezing cooked rice, read on.

Small bowl of rice

How to Freeze Cooked Rice

Let’s start by cooking the rice of your choice (white, brown, wild, basmati). Once that’s done, there are only 4 steps to freeze the cooked grain: cooling down, portioning, packaging, and throwing it into the freezer. Let’s look at each step in detail:

  1. Cooling down rice. Spread the rice thin onto a baking tray or a few plates so it cools down quickly. If the rice is sticking to the surface, run the tray under running water (so it’s slightly wet) beforehand. That should prevent sticking. After 10 to 30 minutes (depending on how thinly the rice was spread on the container) the rice should be quite cold. If it’s still a bit warm, you can transfer the tray or plates into the fridge for 10 to 20 minutes to make sure it’s cold.
    Cooling down brown rice
  2. Portioning. Portioning the cooked rice well is really helpful when defrosting it. Think about how you will use the rice in the future and portion it based on that. If you’re not sure how much rice you will need at a time, you can always divide the batch into 1- or 2- cup portions.
    Portioning brown rice to bags

    Freezing rice in freezer bags is the most popular method

    Portioning brown rice to food containers

    Freezing in food containers as a part of meal prep routine is another option

  3. Packaging. Each portion should go into its own freezer bag. Use your hands to spread the rice evenly in the bag so it forms a thin layer. Thin and even layers have two main advantages. First, the cooked grains are easier to reheat evenly even in a microwave. Second, if the serving portion is too small, you can defrost another layer easily. Once the freezer bags are prepared, label them with the name, amount and date for future reference.
    Spreading rice evenly
  4. Throw the rice into the freezer
Meal prep container with brown rice

Meal prep container with cooked brown rice and roasted veggies

How to Defrost Frozen Cooked Rice

Here are a few options when it comes to defrosting cooked rice:

  • Microwave. The fastest, albeit not the healthiest option is to microwave the rice. Microwave it in one-minute increments and make sure to leave a glass of water into the microwave when reheating. This helps keep the reheated rice moist.
  • Frying pan. You can get the frozen rice ready in just a few minutes by reheating it on the stove. Pour the rice onto the pan then warm the grains up over low heat. Add a tablespoon of water (or more if needed) and let the rice defrost and heat up. Once the clumps of rice start breaking down, give the grains a stir every now and then for even cooking. If you have frozen cooked rice with some sauce, there’s no need to add the water.
  • Add it directly to the meal you’re preparing. If it’s a meal that’s cooked in some way (soups, stir-fries), you can add the frozen rice directly to it. A stir-fry with frozen shredded chicken with bbq sauce is a good example. Make sure to add a few minutes of cooking time to account for defrosting and cooking the rice.

Thawing rice in the fridge is not recommended. Slow defrosting could make the cooked rice mushy.

How to Use Frozen Rice

The texture of frozen and defrosted rice is almost the same as the texture of freshly cooked rice. Because of that, you can use defrosted and reheated rice pretty much the same way as you would with freshly cooked rice. You can use the rice for soups, stir-fries, casseroles, rice bowls. You can also add some sauce and protein and enjoy the reheated rice.