Baked beans are a favorite in many households in the United States. Store bought baked beans usually come in cans. Many countries in the world serve baked beans alongside meals for either breakfast, lunch, or even dinner.
Canned baked beans are delicious and the best part is that they are affordable. This is probably why most people like baked beans. They are easy to prepare and make for a filling meal or accompaniment no matter what time of day you are eating them.
I’ll be the first to admit that whenever I cook baked beans, I always have some leftover. Which had me wondering, can you freeze baked beans?
After a whole lot of research and experiments, I finally had my answer. You can freeze baked beans. Baked beans freeze very well.
They are as tasty as fresh baked beans. Seeing how versatile baked beans are, you can try several amazing recipes. Frozen baked beans make an irresistible stew.
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How to properly freeze baked beans.
Freezing baked beans is very simple, but this does not mean you can just put them in a tin and place the tin inside your freezer. For the quality of baked beans to remain the same, you need to freeze them properly. Here is how to properly freeze baked beans.
Cool the baked beans
As cliché as it sounds, cooling baked beans before freezing them is essential. If you put hot beans into a container and place it in the freezer right away, the difference in temperature will make the container expand and it may even burst open.
The temperature change may also cause the beans to burst open. The beans bursting open means you will end up with a soggy and not so pleasing dish when you thaw and reheat them.
Let the beans cool completely before you freeze them. I normally like keeping them inside the refrigerator for about an hour before freezing them.
Choose the appropriate storage container
The key to freezing baked beans is choosing the right container. Ensure you choose one that is freezer safe.
I suggest using a clear container that can stay in the freezer for a long time. Choose one that has thick walls and a tight lid for the best results
Place the beans into the container
The first thing you need to do is ensure that your container is completely clean. Pour the beans into the container and ensure that the sauce covers the beans completely. The sauce will ensure that your beans do not dry out when frozen.
When pouring the beans into the container, do not fill it to the brim. Leave about two inches of space from the beans to the lid. This space usually gives room for the bean broth to expand when frozen.
Leaving enough room for the bean broth to expand ensures that the lid of your container does not pop off while inside the freezer. Make sure you leave enough room for expansion. This way, the beans will last for much longer.
Label the container
I don’t know about you, but labeling has played a major role in me keeping track of food inside both my freezer and refrigerator. If you do not have an extremely sharp memory, I suggest that you label the container.
This way, you will know exactly when you stored the beans in the freezer and whether or not it is still safe to eat. No need to throw out beans that are still safe to consume.
Place the container in the freezer
Once stored properly and labeled, you can place the beans into your freezer. They will stay fresh for quite some time. That’s it. Pretty straightforward right?
The shelf life of frozen baked beans.
Frozen baked beans have a long shelf-life. They will stay fresh for up to six months.
The reason I insist on labeling the container of baked beans before freezing is that after six months, frozen baked beans may no longer be safe to consume.
Defrosting frozen baked beans
Defrosting baked beans is quite easy. If you want the beans to thaw completely, the best way to go about it is to place the frozen baked beans into your refrigerator and let them thaw overnight. You may find this process a bit slow, but trust me, it is the most effective method especially when you want to eat the beans on toast or on a jacket potato.
The second option is to thaw the baked beans using your microwave. Place the frozen beans in a microwave-safe dish and turn on the microwave. Once the big clamps start melting, microwave the beans in 30 seconds increments. Ensure that you flip the beans from time to time so that they thaw evenly.
You should also remember to use the defrost option when thawing baked beans in the microwave. If the beans start drying out before they are completely thawed, add a little bit of water to the beans.
The third and last option is defrosting baked beans on your stovetop. Simply place the beans in a saucepan and on low heat, place the saucepan on your stovetop. The beans will thaw slowly.
Ensure that you stir the beans from time to time so that they do not burn. If they start drying out before they are completely thawed, you can add a little bit of water to ensure that they do not burn. Once the beans are completely thawed, you can cook them immediately.
Personally, I prefer thawing them inside the refrigerator because it is hands-off. All I need to do is place the container of beans inside the refrigerator before I go to sleep.
The next day, the beans will be defrosted and ready to cook. You just need to set a reminder so that you don’t forget to place them in the refrigerator overnight.
If for some reason you forget to thaw them in the refrigerator, the microwave and stove top will work just fine. You just need to watch the beans closely to ensure that they don’t burn.
The stovetop and microwave will get the work done in just a few minutes.
Reheating defrosted baked beans
Once defrosting the baked beans, the next step is reheating them. The best way to go about this is by using the same method you used to cook the beans. Here are a few options on how to reheat baked beans.
In the oven.
This is arguably the best way to reheat baked beans. Just place the thawed beans in an oven-safe dish and cover it with a lid. The lid will ensure that the beans do not dry out.
Preheat your oven to 360 degrees Fahrenheit or 18o degrees Celsius and let your beans reheat for approximately 10 minutes. You can heat the beans for 15 minutes if you are reheating a lot of baked beans.
In the microwave
If you are in a hurry, you can use your microwave to reheat the beans. Place the beans in a microwave safe dish and reheat for 3 to 5 minutes.
On the stovetop
I mostly cook baked beans on my stove top, so I find myself using the stovetop to reheat the beans as well. Place the beans in a sauce pan and reheat on low heat until they are safe enough to eat. If they dry out before they are warm enough, you can add a little bit of water and continue reheating on low heat.
Whichever method you use to reheat baked beans, they should be nice and hot before you eat them.
Making your own baked beans at home
Baking beans is not as hard as most people think it is. You just need a little bit of skill and patience. Making your baked beans at home may take a little bit of time but the upside is that you can customize it to your liking. You can make the beans vegan, sweet, or even spicy.
The key to making amazing baked beans at home is soaking the beans overnight. Beans have a tough exterior. Therefore, soaking them for a long time softens the exterior and makes it palatable once cooked. You can either cook the beans on your stovetop or bake them, whichever you prefer.
You may need to cook the beans for a long time because they take a long time to become palatable. Just make sure they do not become mushy while at it. No one likes mushy baked beans.
Once the beans are properly cooked, you can now make your stew. There are very many recipes for making the perfect bean stew that you can use.
Making your own baked beans at home may be a lot of work but it is definitely worth it.
As discussed above, you can freeze baked beans because they freeze really well. All you need to do is freeze them properly. Ensure the beans are completely cool before you place them in your storage container and freeze them.
You should also thaw the beans properly before cooking or reheating them. Not doing so may give you undesirable results.