Mexican refried beans are one of the country’s favorite dishes, you can enjoy their sumptuous flavor in a wide variety of different ways - in a tortilla wrap, with guacamole, with rice or tortilla chips. There’s no shortage of combinations for this delicious melt-in-the-mouth foodstuff.
But beans are small, so the tendency is to cook them in large batches. If you’re making your own beans at home, the chances are that you might have way more than you need!
Beans are also very filling, so if you’ve ordered some at a restaurant, then you might have already asked for a plastic container in which you can take them home.
When it comes to storing refried beans you might not want to eat them the next day or even in the next few days… maybe even not the next few weeks. Most people like the luxury of deciding when and where they eat their leftovers.
That’s when the wonderful invention of the freezer enters the equation. However, can you freeze refried beans? Well, we’ll put you out of your misery - the answer is yes! But that raises a lot of questions.
What is the best way of freezing refried beans? Is there a difference between freezing homemade and store-bought beans? How can you freeze them in a way that won’t lose their flavoring? Is it safe to eat beans once they’ve been defrosted?
Well, never fear bean freaks, because we’ve got a handy how-to that’ll tell you all you need to know about cooking, freezing and defrosting beans. We’ll also cover all the safety aspects to make sure that your beans are hygienic enough to eat.
Can You Freeze Refried Beans?
There are many ways that you can make a bean recipe, although when served in most Mexican restaurants, they usually come cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. Refried beans are often made using mashed beans, the most commonly used types being pinto, black and kidney beans.
If you are making your beans at home, you will need to soak and drain them excessively before cooking.
But beans can be frozen after cooking, although you will need to make sure that they have been allowed to cool before placing them in the freezer. You also have to make sure the beans are dry, as any moisture in them will freeze and cause the beans to split.
Freezing And Storing Your Beans
There are several methods you can use to store your refried beans, and you might need to think about how many beans you’re planning on freezing or refrigerating before choosing one method.
Fridging It - How To Store Beans In Your Refrigerator
If you have some beans leftover from a meal that you have prepared at home and want to consume them within the next few days, then you can store them in your fridge.
To store them safely, preserving the flavor and decreasing the level of bacteria, wait until your beans have cooled to room temperature.
Once the beans have cooled enough, transfer them to an airtight plastic container or a bag that has an airtight seal, making sure to remove as much air as possible.
After you have sealed the beans, you can keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days. After this point, your beans will lose their flavor and might succumb to mold and other hazardous substances.
Storing your beans this way will make them easy to add to whatever meal you’re preparing next, whether it be tortilla wraps or in a chili. You can reheat these beans in the microwave for a few minutes to recapture that delicious texture.
How To freeze Your Beans
If you don’t plan on eating your refried beans in the next few days, we would certainly recommend storing them in the freezer. You can also freeze them in bulk if you’ve cooked a large batch for future consumption.
When freezing a particularly large batch of beans, separate them into individual containers, as this will make it quicker to defrost and easier to control the portion size once thawed. Ideally, you want to minimize the number of times you thaw them, as they will lose their flavor each time.
Wait for the beans to cool in much the same way as you would if storing them in the fridge. Once they have cooled, place them in sealable containers or bags. Make sure they are airtight.
Once sealed, make sure you label each container with the date and time you sealed them. You can freeze beans indefinitely, although we would recommend that you consume within 12 months to enjoy the maximum level of flavor.
How To Thaw Refried Beans
One simple way to thaw out your beans after they’ve been in the freezer is by leaving them in the refrigerator overnight. However, you can also place them straight in the microwave or a heated frying pan, if you are pushed for time.
It has been commonly reported that beans are very dry once they’ve been taken out of the freezer and thawed. Don’t worry, this is quite normal.
Simply add some water or oil to your beans when reheating them to help them reabsorb some of that moisture and regain the same consistency as when you first cooked them.
If you are reheating your beans in the microwave, we recommend heating them on a low setting for no more than 3 minutes at a time, stirring them at intervals so that the beans separate and thaw quicker.
How To Freeze Homemade Beans
Once the beans have cooled after cooking, place them into sealable containers, labeling them with the date and time of cooking, before putting them in the freezer.
Place a little drop of oil in the container to avoid the beans drying out and getting freezer burn.
How To Freeze Store Bought Beans
Remove your beans from their metal can first, as metal does not freeze well and will end up damaging the beans inside.
Once your beans have been transferred to a plastic sealable container, label them with the date of freezing and wrap in aluminum foil before freezing.