Can You Freeze Baked Beans?
You made some canned baked beans and didn’t manage to finish them all, and you don’t plan on eating the leftovers within the next several days. Can leftover baked beans be frozen?
You know how things normally go. You get yourself a can of 2 of baked beans, prepare them, then it turns out that what you made was a little too much than you had anticipated for you and your family to finish eating. Or even you prepared your beans from scratch. And since you wanted to save some time, you decided to prepare two or more portions than needed.
Either way, you can store the leftovers/ extra portions in the fridge for only some limited time. If you can’ or don’t intend on using what you’re left with anytime soon, refrigeration won’t help much. This is where freezing solves the issue. If you’ve never frozen baked beans before, this article is meant for you.
Can You Freeze Baked Beans?
The answer is yes, baked beans can be frozen. The combination of beans and meat (which is usually used as an accompaniment) can be frozen just fine. The same case applies to the binding sauce. However, before you can proceed to freezing your baked beans, let’s look at when you need to do so and when you shouldn’t.
Store-bought baked beans that come in jars or cans have a pretty long shelf life which normally lasts for more than a year. This means your container can stay for quite some time without worrying about when it’ll go bad and therefore require freezing. As you’re probably aware foods found in sealed jars and cans can stay for weeks (or even months) past their best-by dates.
However, once you open the container, or prepare your homemade baked beans, the situation changes. You’ll only be able to keep the leftovers in the fridge for just a few days, meaning you’ll either eat it all at once or freeze it for use at a later date. In short, it makes more sense for one to freeze their leftover baked beans so that they don’t get spoiled.
How To Freeze Baked Beans
The whole process is as easy as it can be. Get a freezer bag or container (several of them if you have a lot of leftover baked beans that require freezing), to begin with.
- Let the cool. If you’ve just finished eating the baked beans for supper, let them stay for sometime so that they can cool down and get to room temperature. If you want to speed up the process, you can spread them on a plate on not the sauce pan you cooked them in. Ensure that the cooling down process doesn’t last for more than an hour or so (this is mainly for safety reasons)
- Divide the beans into portions. If you made a big pot of beans and are left with enough that can feed you and your family for several meals, divide it into several portions that will fit in your freezer bags or containers. This will make it easy for you to thaw and reheat them later on for one mean. It would be better for you to portion then before freezing so that it becomes easier for you to cook them later. Make sure that there’s some head space because it will increase in volume while freezing.
- Seal the bags/containers. If you opt for bags, remove as much air from them as you can before you seal and freeze them. Label all your containers with dates and names if you’d like to. You can opt out of this step if you intend on consuming all the frozen foods within a couple of months.
- Freeze everything. Finally, place all the bags and containers into the freeze and you’re good to go.
It wasn’t as difficult as you thought, right?
Baked beans can be kept in the freezer for at least several months without losing their original quality. With time (think months), there may be a slight change in taste and texture but your beans should still be pretty great once you thaw and cook them.
How To Defrost Baked Beans
Baked beans need to be defrosted slowly, so you ought to plan accordingly. The larger the storage container, the more time required to defrost them.
Of course, the dish can be defrosted in a saucepan on the stove, but it will still take at least 5 to 20 minutes (depending on how much is in the container) and you’ll have to closely watch it so that it doesn’t get burnt.
Having said that, the following are some of the you can use to defrost your baked beans:
- Overnight in the fridge. This is the classic and commonly used method for thawing frozen foods. It works perfectly and is very safe, but it requires a lot of time. If you put your food in a big (larger than 16 oz/ 475 ml) freezer bag or container, it may take more than eight hours for it to thaw. All you’ll need to do is to plan well ahead of time so that you have enough time to defrost your beans.
- Microwave. When the large clump of baked beans begins to melt, you can microwave it in intervals of 30 seconds as you flip the container upside down as often as you can, allowing it to defrost more evenly. Remember to select the defrost option ad add a little water when you notice it has started drying out. You can then proceed to cook the baked beans.
- On the stove. Place the beans into a sauce pan using low heat, let them thaw slowly. Stir and flip the baked beans as required so that they don’t get burned. Just as it was done when using the microwave, add water as needed and cook the dish immediately once defrosting is done.
We think the best method is to defrost in the fridge because it’s hands-off. All you need to do is to place the whole container into the refrigerator and the temperature handle the rest. The only downside of this method is that you have to plan ahead.
Although the other two methods require lesser time, you’ll have to watch over the beans so that they don’t get dried out and burn. If you urgently need to eat something, these methods will get the job done.
How To Reheat Baked Beans
The best way you can reheat baked beans is probably the same way beans are normally cooked. When they finish defrosting, use the same method you previously used when cooking them.
If you’re wondering whether there are other available options, the following are some of the popular ones:
- Using the microwave comes in handy when you’re in a hurry and would like to perform other tasks while the baked beans are warming up. As soon as the beans are completely defrosted, reheating will not need much oversight.
- In a saucepan. This is likely the way most people use to prepare their baked beans. The beans can be defrosted in the stove and the great thing about this method is that you can continue cooking them until they are ready for you to eat. Add some water from time to time to prevent them from burning.
- In the oven. Ensure that you’re using a heatproof dish that has a lid to prevent your baked beans from drying out. Don’t use temperatures above 360 degrees F/ 180 degrees C and cook them for about 10 to 15 minutes. The required time will depend on the kind of dish you’re using, so adjust the heat accordingly.
With all the methods given above, your baked beans will be nice and hot and ready to eat the way you like them. Whether you like them with just bread, or with eggs and toast, they should be as fresh as the first time you cooked them.