Did you make too much cranberry sauce and worry about it going bad before eating it all? You hate wasting food, so you wonder if you can store and use your leftover cranberry sauce way after Thanksgiving day. The big question is: can you freeze cranberry sauce?
You can freeze cranberry sauce and use it later. All you have to do is pack it in airtight containers for freezer burn prevention. Since cranberry sauce contains a lot of water, it might separate as it freezes. However, this shouldn’t worry you because the sauce’s quality won’t be affected.
In this article, I will explore a few topics relating to the question of whether or not cranberry sauce is freezable. The topics include how to freeze cranberry sauce, how long cranberry sauce lasts in the freezer, cranberry freezing tips, and some clever uses for frozen and thawed cranberry sauce. Keep reading.
How To Freeze Cranberry Sauce
Yes, you can freeze cranberry sauce! The best part about freezing cranberry sauce is that it doesn’t involve any complicated processes. Moreover, you can freeze canned or homemade cranberry sauce the same way.
Here are the steps to follow when freezing your cranberry sauce:
1. Cool the Cranberry Sauce Prior to Freezing
If you’ve just freshly made your cranberry sauce or heated it, cool it down to room temperature before freezing it. Freezing the sauce while it’s still hot will cause large ice crystals to form. The crystals will result in freezer burn and destroy the cranberry sauce’s texture.
2. Separate and Pack the Sauce in Small Portions For Freezing
Do you want your cranberry sauce to last in the freezer for a long time? The best thing to do before freezing your cranberry sauce is to divide it into smaller portions.
If you have an ice cube tray, pour your sauce into the tray, and put it in a freezer for proper portioning.
Once the sauce freezes fully, remove the cubes from the tray. Then, pack the portions of sauce in a freezer bag with no air. Seal the bag tightly.
If you want to freeze bigger portions of cranberry sauce, you can scoop your desired amount directly into a freezer bag. However, make sure to leave enough space in the bags because the cranberry sauce will expand when freezing.
Whichever way you decide to freeze your cranberry sauce, the most important step is to remove as much air from the plastic freezer bag as possible. Air left in the bag will cause freezer burn and the cranberry sauce will suffer a large decline in quality.
3. Label the Freezer Bags Full of Cranberry Sauce
Finally, the last step before freezing cranberry sauce is labeling.
The two things you’d always write on your labels are:
- Name of the freezer bag’s content (in this case, it’s cranberry sauce): Labeling ensures you pick the right thing from your freezer since some foods or ingredients may look alike, especially when frozen.
- Date: It’s important to track how long your cranberry sauce has stayed in the freezer. Always use the older portions first.
How Long Can Cranberry Sauce Last in the Freezer?
Cranberry sauce can last in the freezer for up to six months or more, provided it’s properly cooled and sealed. Doing so will maintain the sauce’s fresh taste, so you can enjoy it the same way you would if you were to eat it right after cooking it.
It’s possible to freeze the sauce for up to a year, but its texture may change. Any cranberry sauce that stays in the freezer for a year won’t taste fresh.
Whether you want to keep your cranberry sauce for a few months or a year, it’s important to have airtight containers or strong freezer bags to maintain their longevity.
Cranberry Sauce Freezing Tips
Below are a few great tips to consider when freezing cranberry sauce:
- Remove air from the freezer bag. This tip is very important. Unfortunately, many people don’t know it. When pouring cranberry sauce into the freezer bags, ensure you first push or press out all the air before putting them in the freezer. Doing so will keep your sauce safe from freezer burn.
- Store your sauce in the fridge for short-term use. It’s an excellent tip if you wish to eat your cranberry sauce within a week or two. Therefore, you don’t need to keep the sauce in the freezer. It’ll remain fresh and safe for up to two weeks so long as you’ve covered it well. To refrigerate, you can store your sauce in emptied jam jars instead of freezer bags.
- Be ready for some textural changes. Most shop-bought cranberry sauces don’t freeze as well as homemade varieties. They have a more jellied texture that changes in the freezer, causing them to become watery. Although the cranberry sauce won’t be harmful to eat, the taste won’t be as enjoyable.
How To Defrost Cranberry Sauce
The simplest way to thaw your frozen cranberry sauce is to remove it from the freezer one day before you plan to use it. After that, follow the following steps:
- Place the pack you’ve removed from the freezer into the fridge.
- Defrost the package using a microwave if you’re in a hurry or forgot to remove the frozen sauce a day earlier.
- Stir the cranberry sauce properly to restore its thickness and reduce separation.
Can You Refreeze Cranberry Sauce?
You can, in fact, refreeze cranberry sauce. However, doing so will alter the cranberry sauce’s texture and may negatively affect its taste. So although refreezing cranberry sauce is possible, it’s not recommended.
It’s suggested that you freeze your cranberry sauce in smaller portions. That way, you’ll only need to defrost the amount that you require.
How To Use Cranberry Sauce After Freezing
There’s nothing special about frozen cranberry sauce and, therefore, you can use it the same way you did when you first made it.
You’ll enjoy the same texture and taste. And in case you have guests, they won’t suspect you’ve served them frozen cranberry sauce.
Here are some clever ways you can use your cranberry sauce after freezing:
- Use it as a layer in a meat pie to moisturize the pie.
- Boil the cranberry sauce and serve with some ice cream for a cold, sweet, and irresistible pudding.
- Apply it on bread and scones instead of jam.
- Use it for baking a coffee or cranberry banana cake.
- Use the cranberry sauce to coat some pork chops when roasting them.
How To Tell if Your Cranberry Sauce Has Gone Bad
Sometimes your cranberry sauce can go bad even after freezing. It might be caused by the type of freezer bags or cans you used or the failure to tighten them properly.
Here are a few signs that your cranberry sauce has gone bad:
- Prior to freezing, the cans used to store the sauce are dented, leaking, or rusting. Pay attention if any of the cans has a top that is rounded outward instead of flat. If so, that means the cranberry sauce has gone bad.
- Your cranberry sauce’s color has changed to brown or black.
- The sauce is smelly and doesn’t smell like cranberry sauce anymore.
If you note these signs and confirm the sauce has gone bad, throw it away without hesitation.
Consuming expired cranberry sauce will negatively affect your health, that of your family, and guests if you’re hosting company.
You no longer have to throw away your leftover Christmas Cranberry sauce since you can freeze it. All you need to do is pour portions of your sauce into quality freezing bags or jars; after that, label and freeze.
You can keep the frozen sauce for up to one year, provided you first cool the cranberry sauce before freezing and use airtight containers.