For chefs, a staple in every kitchen is kidney beans. Often this product comes either canned or dried with a bag for storage purposes.
Can you freeze kidney beans? Yes.
It is a time-consuming process to cook and freeze kidney beans, but it is well worth it.
The remaining canned beans can be saved by freezing them. This article will explain how to freeze kidney beans.
We have everything you need to know about freezing kidney beans, from cooking techniques to thawing.
What’re Kidney Beans?
Kidney beans are a variety of common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris).
Kidney beans, also called red kidney beans or Mexican red beans, are named for their rich, dark red to maroon color.
They are sold dried and come in various cooking times (from 4-hour soaking to 30-minute cooking).
Kidney beans are also available in many different forms: canned and dried, whole and ground.
The kidney bean is a very popular ingredient in American cuisine, especially in the Southern region of the United States (particularly New Orleans, where red beans and rice is a traditional dish).
How to Freeze-Dried Kidney Beans?
Technically you can freeze dry kidney beans. They can, however, be frozen for a very long time.
Dried kidney beans can be kept on your pantry’s shelf for years.
It would be best to keep them in a high-quality container in an airtight bag that is dry and cold.
The best beans will last for about 2 to 3 more years. But, beans kept in good conditions will continue to be safe even after three years.
If you plan to freeze-dry kidneys beans, wash the beans thoroughly. Allow beans to dry on a paper towel/washcloth.
Next, place beans in an airtight plastic bag or container in the freezer.
How to Cook Dried Kidney Beans?
The easiest way to cook dried kidney beans is by using a pressure cooker to cut the cooking time in half.
Follow these instructions:
- Place washed and soaked dry kidney beans in a pressure cooker with water (soaked overnight).
- Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer for 1 hour.
- To cook kidney beans in a pot, have three parts water to 1 part dried red kidney bean.
- Bring the water and beans to a boil, then reduce heat and allow them to simmer uncovered for an hour.
- Once they are done cooking, drain any excess liquid and place kidney beans on a cookie sheet to cool.
How to Freeze Kidney Beans?
You can freeze raw kidney beans or frozen cooked kidney beans for later use.
If you freeze them before cooking the beans, they will be easier to prepare.
If you are unsure how long you can freeze raw kidney beans, the general rule is six months.
This is where most people go wrong with freezing food by thinking if they put frozen food in a freezer bag, it will always last longer than this.
The plastic in the freezer bags causes the food to go bad even more quickly than just sitting and not being frozen.
To be safe, you should always cook beans before freezing them.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to freeze kidney beans.
- After cooking the beans, chill and rinse with cold water.
- Divide the beans into small portions. You can save one to two cups of beans per bag or container for later use.
- The beans should be placed in bags or containers made of plastic as the liquid inside the beans will expand when frozen, leave some room.
- The date and quantity of the beans should be noted on the label for each bag.
Some people prefer to freeze the beans with some liquid in a flat container rather than in bags.
Freeze raw beans for up to 6 months. After cooking the beans, put them in airtight containers or freezer bags and freeze them within one month.
How to Thaw Frozen Kidney Beans?
There are two ways to thaw frozen kidney beans.
You can let them thaw naturally at room temperature, or you may cook them in a microwave/toaster oven.
Thawing beans at room temperature is the most natural and cheapest way to thaw kidney beans.
It doesn’t require anything but time (about 5 hours).
This is also the best way to thaw small quantities of beans that you need for immediate use.
If the kidney beans are not utilized within a short time, you should cook them again.
The exception to this rule is for those who don’t mind soggy or undercooked beans.
Place the frozen beans in a pot, add some water and let them thaw naturally at room temperature.
Any cooking liquid can be used, including sauce, broth, or any combination of these.
Check beans from time to time to see if they are soft and ready to be consumed.
Thawing frozen beans in a microwave should not take more than 2 to 3 minutes.
If you put too many kidney beans in the microwave, it will heat up, and they may cook, but this is not recommended for health reasons.
When planning to use frozen kidney beans immediately after thawing them, cooking in the oven is the best way to go.
If you put frozen kidney beans in a pot and cook them over the flame, they may crack or break.
So, when thawing frozen beans in the oven, wrap each bean tightly with aluminum foil.
Make sure that you do not wrap it too loosely as this will cause burning and uneven heating.
The oven should be pre-heated to 400 degrees.
Place the wrapped kidney beans in a baking dish, let them thaw, and cook for about 40 minutes.
How to Tell if Kidney Beans are Bad?
Since beans are not covered in a thick protective shell, they can easily absorb bacteria from the air, which can quickly affect their taste and texture.
The following are some of the most common signs of bad kidney beans:
Try discoloration as an indicator – discard green or black kidney beans as they may be contaminated with bacterial spores.
If the beans are cooked, they could look dried and shriveled up, even if they were frozen.
The texture of the kidney beans will be grainy when bad, instead of soft or mushy.
If you suspect that your raw or cooked kidney beans may have gone bad, throw them out immediately to avoid food poisoning.
If you have cooked the beans and don’t taste fresh, they should also be discarded.
Keeping them around to eat later is not a good idea either, as the bad taste could get even worse by the time you want to use them.
In conclusion, the process of freezing kidney beans is fairly simple.
It just requires that you know the right way to go about it.
Freeze only fresh, good-quality kidney beans and save money by purchasing in bulk.
You can also prepare big batches when the weather permits and freeze extra for emergency food storage when necessary.
Remember to label and date the freezer bags or containers in which you store your frozen beans.
Label them with the “use by” and “best before” dates so that you can make sure they are used while still fresh.
If you have any other useful ideas about freezing kidney beans, let us know.