One important item of our everyday meal is vegetables, on the pyramid of food, vegetables rank among the highest foods recommended to be taken. According to research, an individual is supposed to eat about five to 13 servings of vegetables and fruits per day. One of those highly recommended foods, when you are following a particular eating plan, are vegetables.
Knowing how important vegetables can be, you can effectively cook them and freeze them to use in the future. You may be shocked that vegetables can be frozen, but truly, cooked vegetables can be frozen and then reheated. Raw vegetables can also be frozen, depending on your preference.
If you want to preserve your leftover cooked vegetables, freezing them is the deal and this can also be intentionally done by preparing them for the future and what you do when you need them is to reheat them and consume them.
How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Vegetables?
What we have done is to make the guide that will help you to understand those things you need to know concerning how to freeze your cooked vegetables including the various methods you can use. You must know that some vegetables usually freeze better when compared to others. For you to properly store your cooked vegetables, you will need to have double-zip freezer bags of high quality. We encourage you to continue reading to get to know all you are supposed to know about freezing your cooked vegetables to be used at a later date.
Freezing Cooked Vegetables
It is very simple to freeze cooked vegetables, there are no special supplies or tools required. All you need is to use your airtight containers or freezer bags and you can embark on the process as you would love to. If you have a lot of leftovers after you have over-cooked, there is no reason for you to waste them or perhaps, you cooked your vegetables ahead of time so that you can use them later, freezing them is an easy and quick process. It still follows the same process as putting them inside the fridge.
Peradventure you are the type of person that usually throws away your vegetable leftovers because you feel they cannot store properly, we are here to tell you that you can freeze them and still enjoy them just as they were cooked fresh.
Raw vegetables can be stored the same way you store cooked vegetables. Cooking vegetables does not take much time, so it is even better to freeze them cooked. Irrespective of the cooking methods you are using, you can cook your vegetables and freeze them. You should also know that whenever you are trying to freeze cooked vegetables, the preparatory steps have already been done by slicing or cutting them.
If require something very quick to be eaten beside pasta or any other meal, your frozen cooked vegetables will do the trick, all you need to do is to remove them from frozen and reheat them to get them back to the enjoyable meal. Your frozen cooked vegetables can also be added mixed into dishes and added to casseroles. In case you want to roast your vegetables, make sure you use your best baking pans that are excellent to roast vegetables.
Before we proceed, shall we check some pros or upsides and the cons or downside of freezing your cooked vegetables?
The Upsides or Pros of Freezing Cooked Vegetables
- It does not require thaw time.
- It does not involve complicated processes.
- It is a great way for you to save your vegetables and to also use it for a variety of things.
- The flavor and consistency will not if you have cooked the vegetables.
- It is very simple to reheat.
- It is simple to freeze
- You will be able to preserve your leftovers and also your pre-cooked food for you to use in the future.
The Downsides or Cons of Freezing Cooked Vegetables
- If your vegetable does not freeze very well, you may have some mushiness in them.
- You will need to allow the food to cook before you freeze.
- There is a limitation on the freeze time.
- Some vegetables are better to be frozen when they are raw because they may lose their integrity after you reheat them.
- Some vegetables like sprouts, salad greens, lettuce, and cucumbers do not usually freeze well.
The reason why we have made this guide is to show you how to freeze your vegetables because some issues might come up while trying to freeze them. You must also understand that though you can freeze the majority of foods both cooked and raw, it is of high importance to note that everything does not freeze the same way and some food items may lose their textures when you thaw or reheat them.
A Guide to Freezing Cooked Vegetables
It is not hard to freeze cooked vegetables, most cooked vegetables are easily frozen and reheated. You will notice that the vegetables in the categories of not freezing well as listed above are those vegetables that are not usually cooked when you serve them. Rather than cook them, they are usually served cold though it is not applicable to each of them every time. You need to follow some steps when you want to freeze cooked vegetables, we will try to discuss the process and we will also talk about how you can thaw and reheat them.
Do not forget that we earlier stated that you will find it quite easy to freeze your cooked vegetable, check how you can successfully do it below:
- You must first allow your vegetables to cool completely to room temperature after cooking. This should be done within 30 minutes. You do not want them to go bad by overcooling them.
- After cooking, put the cooked vegetables inside your freezer bag or your airtight container. If you have juice with the vegetables, also pour it in the storage method.
- Tightly seal your container or bag and put them into the freezer.
- Remember to label the container or bag with the date of freezing as well as the title.
- You can store them safely inside the freezer for about nine months.
- That’s all about freezing your vegetables and you can use them whenever you want to, as long as it is within the stipulated period above.
Thawing and Reheating Frozen Cooked Vegetables
One good thing about freezing cooked vegetables can be considered to be the ability to quickly reheat them. You don’t need a thaw time and you are recommended to take the cooked vegetable frozen directly from your freezer into your pan or dish. If you want them to thaw, ensure you thaw them inside the fridge. Thawing on a countertop is not recommended because only a part of it will properly thaw and it will lead to excessive condensation. Check below for the reheating process:
- Remove the cooked vegetables away from your freezer.
- Put it on a pan that has a lid or cover.
- Use the lid to cover your pan and allow it to heat on medium heat.
- Stir them to separate them as they start to defrost.
- You can allow them to become warm to the temperature you desire before you serve to eat.
- You can also heat them in your microwave by placing them in your microwavable container and allow it to microwave for up to five minutes ensuring you stir after each minute.
- You don’t have to add water to any of the methods unless they don’t seem to have more than enough moisture when you are cooking.
In case you are using the cooked vegetables with your casserole or you are mixing with a dish, you will not need to cook them fully. All you need to do is to put them in your microwave or on your stove long enough for them not to be fully frozen and then you can add them directly to the meal.
It is recommended to use frozen cooked vegetables within nine months. If, however, you find it necessary, you can extend the freezing time.
You must have learned one or two things about how you can freeze cooked vegetables and how long you can do that. We know you have some questions lingering in your hearts, check out some questions and their answers below:
What if I Don’t Put the Juice from My Cooked Vegetables in When Freezing?
You can also preserve your natural juice alongside the vegetables if you follow the steps, however, in case you don’t have juices or you don’t want to add the juice into the freezer bag, it is not a problem, you might just have to add water to your vegetables when you want to reheat them.
Is it Better to Blanch Raw Vegetables and Freeze than to Freeze Cooked Vegetables?
It is a matter of your choice. Both deliver similar results, whether you freeze your cooked vegetables or you freeze raw vegetables that you have blanched. The good thing about both of the options is that the vegetables can be prepared the way you wish to. If you cook your vegetables before freezing them, you can season and make them to a taste that you prefer and the seasoning can also help settle into them as they freeze.