Q. I cooked up a big batch of black beans this weekend, and now I have some leftover. I know that beans are inexpensive, but I still don’t like to throw away good food. I’ve eaten as much of the beans as I’m going to eat for a while, but would like to be able to keep the leftovers for a later date. I’ve never frozen black beans before, because I’ve heard that freezing makes them dry, tasteless, and just kind of gross overall. I don’t want to go through the effort if they won’t be edible once they’re thawed. Can you freeze black beans?
A. Yes, you can freeze black beans. They do have a tendency to dry out a bit during the freezing process, but there are ways to minimize how much they dry out. Frozen black beans can still look and taste great, with a little bit of effort on your part. You didn’t mention whether the black beans were whole or refried, so I’ll provide suggestions for both.
How to freeze black beans?
To freeze whole cooked black beans, it’s important to freeze them as quickly as possible after cooking to maintain freshness. Allow the beans to cool, and then pour the beans, along with any cooking liquid, into freezer bags. Minimize mess by standing the freezer bag in a bowl and folding the top over the edge. Make sure to leave some room at the top for expansion. Squeeze out the excess air, and then seal the bag. Label and date the beans. Beans can be stored in the freezer by laying the bags flat. Be sure not to rest anything heavy on the bags.
Refried black beans (or pureed beans) should also be frozen quickly to maintain freshness. Scoop beans into a freezer safe container. Place a layer of plastic wrap over the beans, and then seal the lid. Label and date the container. Frozen beans should be eaten within about two months for best results.
How to defrost black beans?
When thawing beans, place the container in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Whole black beans in liquid will simply need to be reheated in a saucepot over low heat on the stove. Refried beans are more likely to have dried out a bit. Start by giving the beans a good stir, and then add a small amount of cooking oil to the beans when reheating. Taste beans and season as needed.