What would you do if you do not have time but feel hungry? Of course, the ideal option is to gulp in a few overnight oats. This no-cook recipe is perfect because preparing it does not take more than a couple of minutes. Besides, they are nutritious enough to satisfy your hunger cravings. So, what are overnight oats, and can you freeze overnight oats to maintain their freshness?
Overnight oats can be prepared by soaking raw oats in any liquid, preferably milk or yogurt. You can add nuts, fruits, spices, and sweeteners to enhance the taste and nutrition quotient. It is always advisable to consume overnight oats fresh.
However, Can You Freeze Overnight Oats?
Oatmeal does not last or stay fresh indefinitely. So, freezing overnight oats is an excellent option. You can freeze overnight oats in individual airtight containers to keep them fresh and maintain their quality. However, you must follow a few safety precautions when freezing overnight oats.
Precautions To Take When Freezing Overnight Oats
A lot of thought should go into preparing overnight oats, especially with the choice of the liquid, toppings, and other ingredients. All these factors determine how overnights oats freeze. A crucial aspect is that the toppings and juices respond differently to the freezing processes.
We recommend making the soaked oats as plain as possible because the additions can change the texture and flavor during defrosting.
- Spices lose their aroma when defrosted. Therefore, they will not be as vibrant or have a punchy flavor. Consequently, it is best to add the seasonings after defrosting the frozen overnight oats.
- Fruits like bananas, apples, and berries can become mushy when frozen and defrosted. So, you can add the fruits after freezing the plain overnight oats.
- Similarly, nuts soften when frozen and melted. Besides, they break down due to constant soaking in the liquids. Therefore, they do not taste fresh and lose their flavor after freezing and defrosting.
Therefore, we recommend adding these ingredients after the freezing and defrosting process. It is best to add them before serving. It helps maintain the taste and crispiness.
Choosing suitable containers for freezing overnight oats is essential. You consider factors like durability, sturdiness, and flavor retention. Besides, the containers should be airtight.
We recommend glass if you choose between plastic and glass because it does not retain bad flavors. The flavor and tastes from other meals can permeate plastic and pass on to the overnight oats, affecting its texture. Mason jars are the best, but you must ensure they are airtight. However, glass jars have disadvantages because they can be cumbersome. The chances of breakages are high. Besides, they consume space.
On the other hand, airtight plastic containers are light and freezer friendly. They come in various shapes and sizes. It is convenient to stack plastic containers in the freezer. However, the primary disadvantage is that they absorb odors from other stored meals in the freezer.
The Freezing Procedure
You can start the overnight oat preparation after selecting the appropriate containers for freezing.
Mix the oats and the liquids in the container. You can add sweeteners like sugar, maple syrup, honey, etc. However, it is better to leave out toppings like fruit slices, nuts, seeds, and spices till the time is ready for serving.
Leave sufficient room inside the containers because the liquid content in the overnight oats can expand during the freezing process. If you do not leave enough space in the containers, the containers can break, leading to the splashing of overnight oats all over the freezer.
The containers should be airtight, preferably with seals or snap clasps. It prevents the outside air from entering the container and causing freezer burn.
Using an appropriately-sized container is critical because a large container can have excessive space at the top leading to air retention. Similarly, zip-lock freezer bags should be squeezed to remove excess air before sealing them.
There is no need to refrigerate the overnight oats before freezing them. Instead, we recommend freezing overnight oats as soon as you prepare them. Cooling the oats can cause them to soak the liquids and become soggy before the freezing process.
It is crucial to store the oats at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. On mixing with the liquid, the oats swell and absorb the moisture. Therefore, they become vulnerable to bacterial contamination. Perishable foods are better frozen within two hours of their preparation. It ensures maintaining the fresh quality and taste.
How To Defrost Overnight Oats?
The recommended thawing procedure lets the overnight oats defrost naturally in the fridge. The best aspect is that the oats absorb the liquid and become consistently soft to be ready to eat the following day.
You can also defrost the overnight oats on the counter at room temperature. The process can take around four hours if you do not wish to eat them cold.
The right time to add the fruits, nuts, seeds, and spices is after the thawing process is over. You can have the overnight oats immediately or allow the topping flavors to meld together for a better experience.
How Long Can Overnight Oats Remain Frozen?
Following the correct procedure enables the frozen overnight oats to last in the freezer for three months. However, we recommend consuming the frozen overnight oats as quickly as possible to enjoy the flavor, taste, and freshness.
How Long Can Defrosted Overnight Oats Last?
You can remove the frozen overnight oats from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator. They can remain fresh for four to five days. This period should suffice for the thawing process. Then, if you feel like consuming them, you can remove the required portion from the refrigerator, add the toppings, and have your delicious snack.
Can You Refreeze Overnight Oats?
We never advise refreezing overnight oats because their quality will decline. Besides, there is a risk of bacterial contamination.
How Do You Know The Overnight Oats Have Gone Bad / Spoiled?
Generally, frozen overnight oats last for three months. However, you can watch out for signs of spoilage regularly. Typically, frozen overnight oats go bad in three ways.
- Freezer Burn – The exposure to cold, dry air inside the freezer cause freezer burn. The solution is to pack the overnight oats in airtight containers.
- Rancid Odor – Oats coming in contact with the freezer airflow can absorb odors from other foods and become rancid.
- Discoloration – Spoiled overnight oats lose their color, texture, and consistency.
While nothing can be more refreshing than a bowl of freshly made overnight oats with toppings, you can freeze overnight oats and consume them later. So, can you freeze overnight oats? The answer is YES.