There’s nothing like a summer barbeque to accrue a ton of leftovers in the refrigerator! If you’re staring into what seems like an endless abyss of Tupperware and foil-wrapped dishes, you might be wondering how you are going to eat all of this food in the next few days.
There are plenty of leftovers that can easily be frozen, but what about baked beans? If you’re wondering, “can I freeze baked beans?” don’t worry then, as you’ve come to the right place.
Baked beans aren’t the first foods you’d think to stash in the freezer for safekeeping, but nevertheless, they’re easy to store that way for long-term or short-term storage.
Here’s what you need to know.
What Exactly Are Baked Beans?
The term “baked beans” refers to a dish made out of parboiled white beans. Traditionally, it is baked at a low temperature for a long period of time in a certain type of sauce. The dish has its roots in Native American cuisine but is now eaten all over the world.
Traditional baked beans were sweetened with maple syrup, but today, most people use brown sugar, corn syrup, or white sugar to prepare their baked beans.
Lots of people have their own recipes for baked beans that were passed down from generation to generation, but this is a meal that’s easy to make straight from a can, too.
Can You Freeze Baked Beans?
You can absolutely freeze baked beans. It is more than safe to do so, but without doing so properly, you could alter the flavor and texture of your baked beans. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you follow the steps in this article to satisfactorily can your baked beans.
There is no need to freeze baked beans that are still sealed in a can. The can may be stored at room temperature, and you’ll likely be able to keep your can of baked beans for several years before you notice any ill effects.
If you’re freezing baked beans that you made yourself, try to freeze them the same day they were cooked. This can help reduce the likelihood of changes to the flavor or texture. It also extends the shelf life of the beans.
How to Freeze Baked Beans
While you can easily freeze baked beans without having to worry about them losing their quality or safety, there are a few caveats to doing so. You’ll want to follow these steps to make sure you freeze your baked beans in a safe, satisfactory manner.
First, you should only ever freeze baked beans that have already been cooked. Freezing raw, uncooked beans is a definite no-no as you will not be able to cook them well after they are thawed. Only freeze cooked or previously canned baked beans (these were cooked prior to being canned).
Here are a few other tips:
First, let the beans cool down before you stash them in the freezer. If you don’t, the container will expand as the beans cool and the container will be more likely to crack or split. The shock from the cold can cause the individual beans to crack and split, too, which will cause your thawed beans to become mushy and unpalatable when you reheat them.
Let the beans cool thoroughly – at least a few hours at room temperature – before you transfer them to the freezer. The same thing goes for pork and beans, Olla podrida, Fabada Asturiana, or American canned pork and beans.
Choosing The Right Type of Container
It’s a good idea to use a freezer-safe container, too. Ideally, this will be one made out of BPA-free materials that can be stored in the freezer for a long time.
Make sure you mark it so that it’s clear what it contains before you thaw the contents.
Fill The Container The Right Way
When you add your beans, make sure all meat in the container is covered in sauce from the baked beans. This way, you won’t have to worry about the meat drying out.
Try not to fill the container to the brim – there should be room at the top of the container so the broth can expand as the beans freeze.
What is the Shelf Life of Baked Beans?
When stored properly and left unopened, a can of baked beans in a sauce usually stays fresh for up to five years. Although the best-by date will usually indicate three to five years, keep in mind that canned baked beans are usually perfectly safe to eat after that period, too – they might just not taste as fresh.
Uncooked dry beans, on the other hand, have an indefinite shelf life. Baked beans that have been cooked last up to five days in the refrigerator.
How to Store Baked Beans
The best way to store baked beans after they’ve been opened and cooked is to refrigerate the contents in a glass or plastic container. Make sure you cover the beans fully and submerge any bits of meat in sauce to prevent them from drying out. They should last three or four days in this regard.
You can also freeze baked beans, which you already know about, or you can process them in a canner. If you plan on canning baked beans, however, know that this is a process that is usually done before cooking and should not be done after the baked beans have already been exposed to the air.
Yes. Baked beans can definitely be frozen, even after they’ve been fully cooked. If you intend to freeze canned beans, just keep in mind that they will become soft and mushy when they’re cooked for too long. You should only reheat them for a few minutes.
In addition, baked beans that have been frozen should only be reheated once after defrosting. Only defrost the amount you need for a meal.
Yes, you can. However, there’s no need to freeze canned beans if they are still sealed in the can. If the can has been opened, go ahead and freeze the canned beans in the exact same way you would if you were freezing homemade baked beans.
When you’re ready to eat your frozen baked beans, a little bit of planning ahead can really pay off. Try to take the beans out of the freezer at least eight hours before you intend to use them. This will give the beans plenty of time to thaw.
However, if you don’t have the luxury of time, you can also thaw your baked beans in the microwave. Simply use the defrost function and stop to stir regularly. Once your beans are thawed, stop the microwave and put them in a pan to reheat them in the oven. This can usually be done in just ten minutes.
There are plenty of ways you can reheat and use frozen baked beans. Most people will thaw the beans and then slowly cook them in the pot. Use the highest temperature possible. The beans will taste great as a side dish for lunch or dinner, or even when used in other recipes.
Some people prefer to put their fully frozen baked beans into a saucepan and reheat them that way. While that’s perfectly safe to do, it’s important to note that this can cause the beans to lose their firm texture and become mushier in feel. They can also become somewhat watery.
A great tip for reheating frozen baked beans? Add a pinch of salt. This can help prevent the beans from splitting.
If you prefer to vacuum seal your leftovers, this is something that can, fortunately, be done with baked beans, too. However, you will want to use jars or containers instead of vacuum seal bags. This will prevent any leaks and spills.
Begin by placing your baked beans in the containers and using your vacuum sealer to remove all of the extra air. Place them in the freezer and try to eat within a few months.
Baked beans can be frozen for one year without sacrificing any taste, texture, freshness, or safety. However, for the best flavor and texture, most people recommend freezing baked beans for only about six or seventh months.
*Photo by AndreySt/depositphotos