If you’ve just cooked a large pot of stew and find yourself with more than you can handle, you might be wondering: “Can I freeze this?” Let’s explore this and more in our guide.
Can You Freeze Stew?
Absolutely! Stew is one of those meals that freeze and reheats really well. It’s a great option if you want to meal prep for the week, or if you want to save leftovers for a future quick and convenient meal.
Does Freezing Change Texture?
Freezing can cause minor changes in texture, especially in vegetables and potatoes. They may become a bit softer after thawing due to the breakdown of cell structures. But don’t worry; the taste and the overall consistency of the stew remain pretty much the same.
How to Freeze Stew: Step-by-Step Guide
- Allow your stew to cool completely.
- Portion the stew into airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. If using freezer bags, lay them flat for efficient use of freezer space.
- Seal your containers or bags, pressing out as much air as possible.
- Label the containers with the current date.
- Place them in the freezer.
Can You Freeze Uncooked/Fresh Stew?
It’s better to cook your stew before freezing. Raw meat can release juices that might thin the stew, and vegetables might not freeze as well when they’re raw.
How Long Can You Freeze Stew?
Stew can be frozen for up to 3 months without losing any significant amount of quality. After that, the flavors might start to fade.
Now, when it’s time to enjoy your stew, here’s how to defrost and reheat it:
- Transfer your frozen stew from the freezer to the refrigerator.
- Let it thaw overnight or for about 24 hours.
- Reheat it on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Direct Heat Method
If you don’t have time to thaw your stew, you can reheat it directly from frozen. Transfer the frozen stew to a pot and reheat it over medium heat until it’s fully thawed and heated through. Be sure to stir it occasionally to prevent burning.
Freezing stew is an excellent way to extend its shelf life and make your meal prep easier. With the proper freezing and defrosting methods, you can enjoy your delicious stew any time without losing much of its texture or taste. Just remember, the key to successfully freezing and defrosting stew is to cool it properly before freezing, store it in airtight containers, and thaw it in the refrigerator or directly on the stove.