Easy Guide to Freezing Cooked Quinoa (Freeze, Thaw & Eat!)
Quinoa is becoming increasingly popular worldwide as people discover the seed’s delicate texture, fluffy, nutty, and sweet flavor. It’s nutritious, versatile, delicious, easy to prepare, and is an excellent alternative for rice and pasta. If you have cooked more quinoa than you can eat, you may wonder if you can freeze it?
You can freeze quinoa as it freezes well and defrosts easily. Its quality, freshness, and taste won’t change after defrosting as long as you freeze it correctly. But if you don’t, the quinoa’s texture changes slightly after defrosting and reheating. Even so, it’ll still be good to eat.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss whether or not you can freeze cooked quinoa and why you should consider freezing quinoa. I’ll also explain how to freeze, defrost, and reheat quinoa. Let’s go!
Reasons You Should Freeze Quinoa (3 Main Benefits)
As stated above, you can freeze quinoa as it freezes well and does not change its taste, freshness, and quality once frozen and thawed. There are several reasons you should freeze quinoa, as explained below.
Freezing Quinoa Will Extend Its Shelf Life
Suppose you prepare a large amount of quinoa; you can store it in the fridge in tight containers, and it can stay fresh for about three days. However, if you freeze the quinoa, it can stay fresh in the freezer for months. So, when you freeze quinoa, you extend its shelf life for several months.
You Can Prepare Your Quinoa Ahead of Time
Preparing and freezing food is excellent because it saves you time and energy, especially if you’re a busy person. For instance, if you prepare a large pot of quinoa and freeze it in portions, you can remove only the quantity you want to consume from the freezer. You can then defrost the quinoa and reheat it within just a few minutes.
You Can Avoid Junk Food
Quinoa is a wonderful, nutritious food to include in your diet. So, when you freeze large amounts of quinoa, you can enjoy healthy meals more often without much stress. Instead of eating junk food, you can defrost your quinoa, reheat it quickly, and eat it accompanied by your favorite vegetable or meat curry.
How To Freeze Quinoa (6 Easy Steps)
You can either cook a whole packet of quinoa and freeze it for later use, or you can freeze leftover quinoa. Below are the steps for freezing cooked quinoa:
- Cook the quinoa using your preferred method. For instance, you could cook it over the stovetop or use a rice cooker following the instructions on the packet. Allow the quinoa to cool at room temperature before freezing; this is important as it can affect the texture of the quinoa when you defrost it later.
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork after cooling completely. Fluffing helps the quinoa loosen and not stick together in clumps. Get some freezer bags to pack the quinoa in; freezer bags don’t tear or puncture easily, and they also help prevent freezer burns.
- Put your desired portions of quinoa in the freezer bags. You can use a measuring cup to do this.
- Press each bag gently to remove as much air as possible. Removing air protects the quinoa from freezer burn and possible airborne contamination. After removing the air, seal the bag tightly.
- Flatten the quinoa in the freezer bags gently. Doing so helps you to stack many bags on each other, thus saving freezer space. Just be careful not to smoosh the quinoa down too much.
- Label the bags with the date so that you don’t confuse them with other bags of quinoa already in the freezer. Arrange the bags of quinoa in the freezer so that the ones you want to use first are up front and freeze them until you’re ready for them.
How To Defrost Quinoa in 2 Simple Steps
Quinoa defrosts easily and quickly, so don’t worry if you forget to remove it from the freezer to defrost in the fridge overnight. It can defrost at room temperature within an hour or less. Here’s how to defrost quinoa:
- Remove the packets of quinoa you want to use from the freezer and put them in a bowl.
- Allow the quinoa to defrost entirely at room temperature; it could take an hour or two. You can also defrost the quinoa in the fridge if you are not in a hurry. However, defrosting quinoa in the refrigerator takes longer than defrosting at room temperature.
How To Reheat Quinoa After Defrosting
You can either eat your defrosted quinoa cold or reheat it. Below are steps on how to reheat quinoa after defrosting:
- Put the defrosted quinoa in a saucepan and fluff it with a fork to loosen it.
- Place the saucepan on the stovetop and reheat the quinoa under low heat.
- Add a teaspoon of oil to the saucepan so that the quinoa does not stick.
- Stir the quinoa occasionally using a fork to avoid sticking on the saucepan.
- Consider adding a few tablespoons of warm water to the quinoa if it feels dry.
- Serve your quinoa with some meat or vegetable curry—if served hot—and enjoy.
Cool Quinoa Completely to Room Temperature Before Freezing
If you want to freeze your quinoa, it’s important to cool it at room temperature before freezing. Any excess moisture dries up when you cool quinoa entirely at room temperature. As a result, the quinoa freezes well, and it will defrost easily and quickly when you remove it from the freezer later.
Suppose you don’t allow your quinoa to cool completely at room temperature before freezing; your quinoa could end up being chunky and mushy after thawing. If this happens, the texture of the quinoa could change slightly after reheating.
Although quinoa has been around for centuries, you could only find this edible seed on the back shelves of food stores in some countries. However, many supermarkets and food stores worldwide stock quinoa on their front aisles today. Although there are many varieties of quinoa, white, black, and red quinoa are the most famous.
If you want to stock up cooked quinoa for later use or have leftover quinoa, you can safely freeze it. When you freeze the quinoa correctly, you can keep it in the freezer for up to eight months, and it will retain its freshness, quality, and flavor.