Gumbo is a simple dish made from oil and flour combined with flavoring spices and other ingredients to make a delicious and wholesome meal. It is easy to cook this Louisiana-based dish and serve it with rice and seafood. Preparing a latch batch of gumbo is not new as you might need them to serve your guests at the party. However, since gumbo contains rice and seafood, people wonder whether it would be possible to preserve it and have it later.
Can You Freeze Gumbo?
The good news is you can freeze gumbo, but the duration depends on its ingredients, especially as rice and seafood do not have a good reputation for freezing well. Therefore, it is advisable to know the safety practices to adopt when freezing gumbo.
Before we learn how to freeze gumbo, here are some points worth considering.
Points To Note When Freezing Gumbo
- Freezing gumbo is not an issue. You can reheat it whenever you want a quick meal. However, frozen gumbo will not taste as good as it was when fresh.
- Gumbo contains ingredients that are tricky to freeze. For example, rice and shrimp are often served with or in gumbo. However, rice can become mushy, whereas shrimp can become rubbery when defrosted. Reheating shrimp is also an issue because it can change its texture.
How Do You Freeze Gumbo?
The gumbo freezing method depends on its critical ingredients, shrimp and rice.
Freezing Gumbo With Shrimp
If you have leftover gumbo with shrimp, please do not waste it because you can freeze them together.
- Cool the gumbo to room temperature before you freeze it. We do not advise freezing hot gumbo because it can increase the freezer temperature and encourage bacterial contamination. It is possible to expedite the gumbo cooling process by filling the kitchen sink with water and placing the gumbo pot in it. You can add ice cubes to the water to hasten the cooling.
- Distribute the cooled gumbo into consumable portions. Next, pour the gumbo into appropriately sized freezer bags leaving half an inch space at the top. It allows the gumbo to expand during freezing and prevents it from spilling all over the freezer.
- Squeeze the freezer bag to remove excess air before sealing it airtight.
- Stick the date and contents label on the bag to help monitor the freezing process.
Alternatively, you can store gumbo in plastic containers, but please ensure to wipe the spilled gumbo on the lid or the sides to facilitate closing the container airtight. Freezing the gumbo in consumable portions is advisable because it eliminates the need to freeze the entire batch and waste it.
Freezing Gumbo With Rice
Freezing gumbo with rice is tricky because rice becomes mushy and makes the meal soggy. So, a better idea is to freeze the gumbo and the rice separately. Alternatively, you can freeze the gumbo and prepare rice afresh when serving it. Nonetheless, we shall see how to freeze the rice separately. The gumbo freezing method is the same as described above.
- Cook the rice as usual and lay it on a baking sheet, letting it cool for 20 minutes.
- Once the rice cools down, you can portion it into consumable parts. Place the apportioned rice inside freezer-safe ziplock bags.
- Seal the bags well after expelling excess air from them.
- We advise labeling the bag with the date before freezing them.
- Playing the bags flat inside the freezer is better to save space.
Freezing rice is helpful because you need not prepare it fresh again.
How Long Can You Freeze The Gumbo To Maintain Its Freshness?
Gumbo with seafood can remain fresh in the freezer for three months, whereas gumbo alone can last six months without compromising its taste and flavor. It is not advisable to freeze rice for more than two weeks.
Can You Refrigerate Gumbo?
You can refrigerate gumbo and keep it fresh for three days in an airtight container. Please discard any leftover gumbo after three days in the freezer.
How Do You Defrost Gumbo?
You can thaw the gumbo in two ways.
In The Fridge
The safest way to thaw gumbo is through refrigerator defrost. You can transfer the frozen gumbo from the freezer to the fridge overnight and allow the gumbo to defrost naturally. This method ensures gradual thawing and prevents bacterial contamination. But, it takes time.
On The Kitchen Counter
Alternatively, remove the gumbo from the freezer and place it in a bowl of lukewarm water. Please change the water every half an hour until the gumbo defrosts thoroughly. This method also ensures that gumbo does not remain at room temperature for extended periods.
Can You Reheat The Defrosted Gumbo?
It is possible to reheat the defrosted gumbo in a saucepan on a stovetop. You can heat it until the gumbo reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternatively, allow to heat on medium-high heat until it becomes piping hot.
It is also possible to reheat the gumbo in a microwave. However, we prefer the stovetop heating method. Here is how you reheat gumbo in the microwave.
- Place the defrosted gumbo in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it on medium-high heat for 30 seconds.
- Remove it from the oven and stir well. Allow the mixture to settle down for ten seconds.
- Repeat the heating process until the gumbo becomes piping hot.
Stirring the gumbo and allowing it to sit for ten seconds ensures uniform heat distribution.
Can You Refreeze The Gumbo?
We do not recommend refreezing gumbo because it loses its consistency.
Can You Freeze Chicken And Sausage Gumbo?
You can freeze the chicken and sausage gumbo and store it for six months.
Can You Freeze The Gumbo Roux?
You can freeze the gumbo roux by placing the dollops of roux on a sheet pan until they solidify in the freezer. Subsequently, you can transfer them to a freezer bag for regular freezing.
Gumbo is a wholesome meal you can have with rice, seafood, and other ingredients like chicken and sausages. These ingredients define how you preserve the gumbo. So, can you freeze gumbo? Yes, freezing gumbo should not be an issue, but freezing it with other ingredients can be challenging. So, it is better to freeze crucial ingredients like rice separately from the gumbo.