Category: Legumes

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.

Image used under Creative Commons from KushiInstitute

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.

Legumes

Can You Freeze Kidney Beans?

Kidney beans are a staple among vegetarians because they’re such a great source of plant-based protein and soluble fiber. But if you have too much kidney beans in your hand, can you freeze kidney beans? Kidney beans are often sold in cans or dried. And if for some reason you’d like to store your favorite beans in the freezer, you can.

Depending on the state of the kidney beans before freezing – if the beans are tinned, dried, uncooked or soaked/cooked – you can prep the beans for long-term storage.

can you freeze kidney beans

Image used under Creative Commons from Marco Verch

But how about the taste of thawed kidney beans, will it be just as good as fresh beans? Again, the flavor and texture of the kidney beans will depend on the prep.

Beans that have been soaked but uncooked prior to freezing will keep fresh for up to 4 months in the freezer. Cooked beans that are frozen will last in the freezer for 6 months or so. Leftover canned kidney beans should keep in the freezer for up to a month. Dried or uncooked beans that are kept in the freezer have the longest shelf life. The beans will keep indefinitely when kept at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit in the freezer.

Now that you know how long kidney beans could keep fresh in the freezer, let’s take a look at the step by step guide on how can you freeze kidney beans:

How to Freeze Kidney Beans?

The prep will depend on how you’d like to freeze the beans. Would you like to freeze the beans without cooking or would you like to cook the beans first?

Freezing Dried or Uncooked Kidney Beans

If you’d like to freeze dried or uncooked kidney beans, give the beans a good rinse first. The beans should be free from dirt or debris that could otherwise increase the risk of bacterial growth. Essentially, the beans should be clean enough that they’re ready to be used as soon as they are defrosted.

Image used under Creative Commons from perkumpulan lesman

Once the beans are clean, sort through them. Remove rotting beans or other debris left after rinsing. When the beans are clean, pat them with paper towels or a clean washcloth to soak up all the excess water and dry them up thoroughly. Then, pour the kidney beans in a large, rigid plastic container with an airtight lid. Don’t fill the container to the brim, leave a couple of centimeters of space. Finally, close the lid, add the label and storage date using a marker and stick in the freezer.

Cooking Dried Kidney Beans Prior to Freezing

If you’d like to boil the cooked or dried beans prior to freezing, start by rinsing the beans. Sort through them and then soaking them in water overnight (for long soaking) or 2 to 6 hours (short soak). After soaking the beans, drain the liquid, give the kidney beans a thorough rinsing and then pour the beans into a large pot. Boil for 30 minutes to 1 hour, turn off the heat, then leave the beans to cool at room temperature.

Do note that kidney beans take a long time to cook. Partially uncooked kidney beans will cause gastric problems so be sure the beans are cooked thoroughly.

Once the cooked beans have cooled completely, drain the cooking water using a colander. Pour the cooked kidney beans in heavy-duty resealable plastic bags. Squeeze as much air as you can prior to sealing. Finally, mark the plastic bags with the label and storage dates then stick in the freezer.

Freezing Leftover Cooked Kidney Beans/Tinned Kidney Beans

If you have leftover kidney beans, just pour the beans in a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid. Leave about an inch or two of space so the liquids could expand as the kidney beans freezes. Close the lid and then label with the storage date and stick in the freezer.

Image used under Creative Commons from Steve Johnson

How to Defrost and Reheat Frozen Kidney Beans?

Freezing is a great way to lengthen the shelf life of leftover, cooked, or fresh kidney beans! To defrost frozen kidney beans, simply transfer the container to the fridge. Leave it to thaw for a few hours. If you’re defrosting cooked or fresh kidney beans for cooking, you can pour the kidney beans directly into the pot, no thawing required. To prevent the beans from splitting, simmer the beans in the lowest temperature. Adding salt halfway through cooking may also reduce splitting.

For leftover beans that are cooked, you can reheat the beans using a microwave. You can also reheat by simmering over low heat in a pan.

Summary

Do you love kidney beans? Kidney beans are such versatile ingredient, you cannot have enough of them. Now that you know how can you freeze kidney beans, you can keep a steady stock of beans for future uses.

 

Legumes

Can You Freeze Tofu?

Can you freeze tofu? Tofu is a food made from soy milk and it’s often used in many Asian cuisines. There are many varieties of this dairy-free food, but they have one thing in common – they go bad pretty quickly. Because of that, one might wonder if freezing tofu to preserve it for later is possible and if it actually makes sense. Fortunately enough, you can freeze your leftover tofu and it’s not difficult to freeze and thaw it with satisfactory results.

How to freeze tofu

Drain the tofu

You should remember that only pretty dry and firm tofu freezes well. Because of that, if your tofu is soft and tender, you need to drain it beforehand. You can do that easily using paper towels. Just unwrap it from its original packaging, an place on a plate (or a cookie sheet) covered with a few layers of paper towels. Once the tofu is on the paper towels, cover it with a paper towel and push it a little. You can even put something on it to provide constant pressure on the tofu. Leave the tofu that way for some time so it’ll dry out. If the paper towels under the tofu are soaked, discard them and place there new ones.

Of course if you wish to, you can freeze tofu in its original packaging as long as you won’t open it before freezing. Keep in mind that freezing tofu this way will result in softer texture and consistency of the product after thawing. Some people like it, others not so much. It’s a matter of personal preferences really. Bear in mind that some ice is going to form inside the package because of the moisture inside. If you decide to freeze tofu without any preparation, just put the package into the freezer and you’re done.

Tofu
Image used under Creative Commons from Crystal

Packaging tofu and putting it into the freezer

When it comes to packaging tofu, you’ve got a few options. Firstly, you might want to freeze it all in one piece. Just wrap it tightly with cellophane foil or put into a freezer bag. If you want to freeze it for an extended period of time (like a few months), I suggest wrapping it tightly and then placing inside a freezer bag. Before sealing the bag remember to remove all air from it.

If you want to, you might cut tofu into smaller portions before freezing. After cutting you can freeze each part individually (package it as described in the previous section) or wrap each part with foil and put a few portions in one freezer bag. Whichever way works best for you.

There is also a third possibility. Cut tofu into small cubes, place them (in a way that they won’t touch each other) on a cooking sheet or a tray and put into the freezer. Once the cubes are frozen, transfer them into a freezer bag. They’re ready to be frozen for the long term. This way you can easily scoop some tofu from the package as you need it.

Tips and additional information about freezing tofu

Remember that tofu darkens a little once frozen, the exact shade depends on how long the product is stored in the freezer. Another thing to keep in mind is that thawed tofu is pretty chunky (depends of how moist it were when put into the freezer). It won’t work well in dishes where its chunky texture is undesirable.

Before putting the package into the freezer remember to date and label it. For best quality, tofu shouldn’t be frozen for more than 5, maybe 6 months. Thawing tofu is easy – just put it into the fridge overnight. If it’s too watery after thawing, just squeeze it over a sink to remove the excess water. If your tofu pieces are of eligible size for the dish you’re cooking, you can directly add frozen tofu (if it’s been drained before freezing, otherwise it might add too muchwater to your dish once thawed) intothe dish.

Summary
As you can see, freezing tofu is pretty straightforward and many people freeze it with satisfactory results.