Q. I live alone, and find that I can’t always eat a full can of things like baked beans. I’m not a huge fan of eating the same thing for several meals in a row, but don’t like to waste food. I’ve heard that you can’t freeze canned food, but I would love to be able to freeze the unused portions. Can you freeze baked beans?
A. While it’s true that you can’t freeze food in the aluminum cans they are packaged in, that doesn’t mean that canned food can’t be frozen. You can definitely freeze baked beans with a little bit of preparation. Baked beans are most often made with navy beans, which are sturdy and don’t typically go mushy too easily. Be aware though that different brands of baked beans use different types of beans, so some baked beans may lose some of their original consistency after being frozen and then thawed.
How to freeze baked beans?
To freeze baked beans, be certain to freeze them as soon as possible after being opened or cooked. Allow beans to cool completely before freezing, because hot beans can cause containers or bags to explode. To maintain consistency, freeze baked beans in containers that won’t press down on or squeeze beans, causing them to go mushy. Freezer safe containers with hard but somewhat flexible sides and a lid are best. Fill containers, leaving about ½ at the top to allow for expansion. If the baked beans contain meat, make sure that the meat is completely covered by the baked bean mixture to avoid freezer burn.
Seal the container with the baked beans so that it is airtight. Label and date the container before placing it in the freezer. Baked beans should be used within 2-3 months of being frozen. Place the container in the coldest part of the freezer where it won’t be subjected to changes in temperature.
To thaw baked beans, remove the container from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight, until completely thawed. Don’t thaw baked beans on the counter, especially if they contain meat, as this could cause harmful bacteria to grow. Thawed baked beans may be more watery than they were before being frozen, so stir the baked beans to return the mixture to its original consistency. If beans are mushy, it may be best to use them in a recipe or to add some cooked beans to the mixture to thicken it up a little.