You’ve just had a party or a good meal on Taco Tuesday. You don’t want to throw away all that extra food, do you? Maybe you want to be able to make some delicious meals ahead that you just heat and eat.
Either way, baked beans can be an economical and nutritious addition, filled with protein and fiber. You want to eat it when you want to, rather than feeling pressured to finish it before it goes bad.
Can You Freeze Baked Beans?
When I have leftovers, I want to make sure I get the most out of them too. Can you freeze baked beans? Yes, just follow these tips on the day you make them.
1. Cook Them Until they’re Still Just a Bit Firm Or “Al Dente”.
If you’re looking to keep a nice texture, I recommend that you don’t overcook it. Frozen beans can get a bit mushy when they’re thawed, as do other foods.
You can start from scratch with dry beans and cook it all day or use canned navy beans for a more quickly made meal.
Putting sauce over any meat you have in the dish when you’re freezing it prevents it from drying out and getting freezer burn.
2. Make Sure It’s Safely Cooled
Cooling your baked beans down safely is a very important step. If something isn’t cooled the right way, pathogens may grow and give you or your loved ones food poisoning. Baked beans are a TCS food (Time and Temperature Control for Safety).
Cool it quickly by putting the beans into a smaller container, with a bit of room for expansion during the freezing process, and placing the container in a bowl of ice.
If you aren’t sure that you cooled it fast enough or have left the food on the table a long time, you can heat back up first to make sure it’s safe before cooling it.
3. Label the container
When freezing baked beans, a good cook follows the rule of F.I.F.O. (First In, First Out). You want to make sure you don’t forget when the frozen baked beans will still be good if you don’t plan on having them for a while.
Take a bit of masking tape and a permanent marker, like these ones, and put it on the top of your container.
Write something like “Baked Beans [month/day]”. According to Can You Freeze This? homemade baked beans can be stored up to six months before it starts not to taste as fresh.
Canned beans are good for half that time and stuff you get from the prepared foods counter at the grocery store should not be saved.
Clear containers can make it even easier to see what you’ve frozen, but it isn’t necessary, as long as you’ve labeled them.
If BPA, or any of its alternatives which may also not be safe, is a concern for you, glass jars, such as mason jars, are free of chemicals and 100% safe. Stainless steel is also an option.
They also both make for a good alternative to freezing: canning.
4. Canning: You Can Do IT Too!
Another way of preserving your beans is, canning can save space in your freezer. Beans canned properly and safely with a good quality pressure canner can last for a good year or two. You’ll probably eat them before that. You can also easily send some canned baked beans to your friends and family.
A new pressure canner should come with instructions. There are also plenty of resources online, such as Simply Canning, that can teach you as well. That’s good if you got it used or otherwise without instructions.
5. Heat IT Up!
Vegetarians, vegans, omnivores, “plant strong” people, anyone who’s not allergic to them can have a satisfying bowl or side dish of baked beans. Get creative and try preparing the leftovers in different ways. Reheating is easy in a pot, pan or microwave.
- Cool, Contain and Label
- Freeze (or Can)
- Heat and Eat
Those are all easy steps that you can freeze baked beans. Hope you find the answer to the best way to prepare your leftover baked beans?
Any family recipes you’d like to share or stories to tell? If so, let us know in the comments below!