Can You Freeze Baked Beans? What You Need To Know
On those busy work days, many people prefer to make their food well in advance. Often you might take those beans in bulk to prepare them, and the question remains, “Can you freeze baked beans?” Sometimes, you come across a sale on baked beans at your local food store. Do you jump on the wagon and grab a few cans, or will they go bad after a couple of weeks in the freezer?
Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Maybe you have leftover canned or homemade baked beans for an afternoon barbecue. Do you dispose of them or save for later use?
Well, no one likes food waste, especially when it involves good food. I support conservation and sane living at home. For that reason, I will take you through a comprehensive guide on how you can best handle baked beans. Best believe, disposing of your food should be the last thing on your mind.
Can You Freeze Baked Beans?
The answer is yes! You can freeze baked beans. However, you should know that there are different methods of freezing, depending on whether the beans are leftover canned or homemade. These two variations of baked beans require different approaches because of how they were prepared.
Make sure you carefully follow the outlined steps so as not to end up spoiling the texture and natural flavors of your delicacy.
Methods of Freezing
1. For Homemade Baked Beans
To have your homemade baked beans maintain their great taste, follow these steps carefully:
- Freeze them on the same day
On the same day you prepare homemade baked beans, freeze them! Well, first allow them to cool to ambient temperature so as to maintain their freshness and not to allow bacterial growth.
- Put them in appropriate containers
Place baked beans in the right storage containers. These can either be of tough plastic, high-quality glass or even a bit of both. If you don’t have good food storage containers, here’s a selection of my favorites:
- Kick out excess air
If, instead, you choose to go with plastic bags for storage, make sure you remove excess air after placing the beans inside. Do this by squeezing the package and simultaneously pinching/zipping the bag. Excess air might carry microorganisms which break down foods and lead to spoilage.
- Label your containers or storage bags
This helps you know approximately how long the beans will last. Homemade baked beans will last anywhere from 3-5 days in the fridge. Make sure your label includes the date and time of first freezing. Typically, baked beans will last for up to 6 months in the freezer. Therefore, keep a close record to avoid having your food go bad.
2. For leftover canned beans
- From the can to the container at all times
Frozen canned beans have a maximum lifespan of about three months after opening. To freeze them properly, I recommend that you place them in nice tough freezer containers.
- Labelling never lies
As always, make sure you label your containers with the freezing dates. You won’t get confused and end up having bad food or forgetting about other containers
Here’s a video by Front Porch Living detailing on how to freeze cooked beans.
Things to observe
1. Freeze cooked beans only
It is paramount that you only choose cooked beans for freezing. Doing so will ensure that the cooked form of the beans retains its composition. However, if you choose to freeze your uncooked beans, they will thaw back to a crumbly state. Cooking them will be unsatisfactory, and the look and taste will degrade.
2. Label! Label! Label!
It is of great importance to label the storage containers you’ve placed in the fridge. This will help you track them and make sure they don’t get spoiled.
3. Salting to improve shelf-life
Salt is a natural food preservative. You can season baked beans with two or three pinches of salt. The result will be a couple of days more to the shelf-life.
Thaw and serve again!
For homemade baked beans these are the preparation steps for thawing:
1. Freezer to Fridge
To avoid a dramatic change in temperatures, please take the freezer jars with baked beans and put them right in the fridge. Defrosting should take a couple of hours. After this, you can take them out onto the kitchen countertop.
2. Heat at low-medium heat
To get the best results, I recommend that you place the food under the low heat setting in your microwave oven. The key here is avoiding drastic temperature changes that can damage the bean structure.
For leftover canned beans, you can thaw them on a platter for a few hours. I still recommend that you thaw out in stages, from the freezer to fridge to the countertop.
- Containers for pros
To avoid the extra hassle and waiting time in the fridge, you can switch to using freezer containers. These containers will enable you to remove the frozen beans and load them directly to the microwave oven, or any source of low heat. This is applicable only when you’re in a real rush, or you know very well what you’re doing. If not done properly, you might end up with weak and rather mushy beans.
- Season for better taste
Seasoning the baked beans is something I highly advise in order to improve the overall taste of the food. Any food that stays in the fridge, especially already-cooked food, will lose a few notes of flavor with time. Adding seasoning will often mask and enhance its quality.
With that, I hope that now you will be able to handle your frozen baked beans without losing their quality. The tips and tricks that I have indicated will ensure that at least you maintain, and in some cases even improve the quality of food you make. I use these tips every time I have to store my baked beans in the freezer.
A quick recap of the important steps in freezing baked beans are:
- Store the food in airtight containers
- Freeze immediately
- Label the containers well
- Thaw in stages to maintain quality
- Warm and prepare immediately after thawing
What has your experience been freezing or thawing baked beans? Are there new tricks you have picked up? If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comments area below. Cheerio!