Go through any Asian rice delicacy recipe, and you will find various combinations with a generous sprinkling of beans. In addition, you find bean sprouts in soups, curries, and stews. Besides being nutritious, beans are healthy because of the high folic acid, protein, dietary fiber, and Vitamin C content.
Furthermore, bean sprouts are beneficial as they contain copper, an essential ingredient in keeping your kidneys, skin, muscles, and cardiovascular system healthy. Hence, beans have a permanent residency in every Asian refrigerator. So, can you freeze bean sprouts?
Can You Freeze Bean Sprouts?
Beans, a seasonal vegetable, are not available throughout the year at uniform prices. Therefore, storing beans is critical for any Asian kitchen. Hence, people ask, ‘Can you freeze bean spouts to maintain their crunchiness.’ The answer is YES, you can. But, it is better to follow a specific procedure to get the maximum out of your beans.
Refrigerating beans keeps them fresh for about a week. After that, they tend to become soggy and lose their nutrients and crunchiness. On the other hand, frozen bean sprouts can last comfortably for ten to twelve months. Maintaining a freezer temperature at around zero degrees Fahrenheit is critical for extending the veggie’s shelf life.
So, let us discuss how to freeze bean sprouts?
How Do You Freeze Bean Sprouts?
Bean sprouts have a high water content, the prime reason for their crispiness. However, they tend to lose their crunchiness once frozen. Therefore, blanching the veggies before freezing is crucial.
Step 1 – Blanch Your Bean Sprouts
Wash your beans thoroughly to remove dirt and other debris. If you have any split beans in your basket, it is advisable to use them immediately. Boil a pot of water. Simultaneously, keep a vessel filled with ice cubes handy. Drop your beans in boiling water for about two to three minutes. Transfer them to the chilled water and ensure to immerse the sprouts fully to arrest the cooking process.
Maintain the sprouts in iced water for around three minutes before draining out the water. Tap the bean sprouts with a dry towel to remove excess moisture and separate them into manageable portions to facilitate thawing.
Step 2 – Pack Them in Ziplock Freezer Bags or Airtight Containers
Use a large spoon to transfer the sprouts to a resealable zip-lock freezer bag or an airtight container. Leave adequate space for your veggies to breathe. Seal the freezer bag or close the container lid to prepare your bean sprouts for freezing. Please mention the date on the container/bag.
If you have any leftover bean sprouts that have been cooked thoroughly, you can transfer them to a separate airtight container to prevent them from frosting. Then, store it separately so that you can consume it first.
Is There An Alternative To Freezer bags And Airtight Containers?
While airtight containers are the best for freezing bean sprouts, you should know available alternatives for your convenience.
The Sheet Pan Method
Vegetables like bean sprouts with high water content can be frozen using the sheet pan freezing mode. It helps maintain the integrity of your crunchy vegetables. However, you will need a large freezer compartment in your refrigerator. Nevertheless, the sheet pan freezing method is a decent alternative for freezing bean sprouts if time and space are not concerns.
Bean sprouts can get soggy when you defrost them. So, to avoid such an eventuality, you can place your blanched bean sprouts on the freezing pan, ensuring that they do not touch each other. Then, transfer the freezing pan into the freezer and wait for your beans to freeze.
Your frozen bean sprouts should be ready in a few hours. You can transfer them to glass mason jars or your airtight containers and freezer bags for further storage. It is better to cover the freezing pan if you intend to freeze your beans sprouts for more than three hours. It prevents ‘freeze burn’ that can alter the vegetable’s taste.
The sheet freezing pan and glass jar freezing method has their demerits. First, besides consuming time and space, glass jars can break. Secondly, it does not ensure 100% airtight freezing.
How To Thaw Frozen Bean Sprouts?
Defrosting frozen bean sprouts is a straightforward method. You can transfer the frozen bean sprouts into another container and allow them to thaw naturally inside your refrigerator compartment. The process should generally take around two hours.
However, if you need your bean sprouts urgently, place the sprouts in a colander inside your kitchen sink. Rinse them with tap water for around five minutes. Tap them dry, and they are ready for use.
If you wish to use the bean sprouts in hot dishes and soups, you need not thaw them. Instead, it is possible to add the bean sprouts directly from the freezer bag into the hot container during the cooking process.
Freezing your bean sprouts ensures that you have an almost unending supply of beans throughout the year. Now, let us clarify the doubts that can arise in some minds.
Can You Freeze Bean Sprouts Without Blanching?
If you plan to use the beans within a week or ten days, you need not blanch them. However, blanching is necessary for long-term freezing. It ensures to retain the nutrients and the crispiness of the vegetable.
How Long Can The Frozen Bean Sprouts Last in Freezer?
If you follow the correct procedure, frozen beans can comfortably last for even one year without losing their texture and flavor.
Can You Freeze Bean Sprouts From A Can?
It is not advised to not freeze bean sprouts from a can as they contain preservatives.
Can You Freeze Bean Sprouts After Cooking?
Yes, you can if you have not added any non freezing item like mayo etc.
Is It Necessary To Shake The Freezer Bag Before Placing It Inside The Freezer?
Many people advise shaking the freezer bag vigorously after placing it in the freezer for 30 minutes. It helps to separate the bean sprouts and prevent them from clumping together.
Can you freeze fresh bean sprouts? You know the answer to this question now. So, you need not wonder how restaurants serve vegetarian dishes with bean sprouts even during the off-season period. They freeze bean sprouts to make this crispy vegetable available throughout the year on their menus.