Q. My family has recently started eating quinoa, and we all absolutely love it. The trouble is, we often have leftovers since we typically just cook the whole bag. Unfortunately, quinoa is much more expensive than rice, so throwing away the leftovers isn’t really economical. Besides, it would be nice to have some quinoa ready to eat whenever I feel like having it, without having to cook up a new batch. Since it’s a relatively new food for my family, none of us is sure whether it can safely be frozen or not. Can you freeze cooked quinoa?
A. Yes, you can freeze cooked quinoa. However, it is important to freeze it so that it doesn’t go mushy and clump together. Quinoa can be frozen plain or as part of a pilaf or other recipe, although I wouldn’t recommend freezing quinoa that’s mixed into a soup or stew. Quinoa that’s immersed in liquid will continue to absorb the liquid, expanding until it becomes mushy and changes the consistency of the recipe. The same goes for quinoa that’s cooked in a sauce, such as a tomato or cream sauce. It soaks up too much of the liquid to retain its consistency.
How to freeze Cooked Quinoa?
To successfully freeze cooked quinoa, first allow the quinoa to cool completely. Since quinoa is cooked in liquid, it must be stored properly to avoid growing mold, so keep it refrigerated until it’s time to freeze it. Freeze quinoa as quickly as possible after being cooked for maximum freshness.
Place the cooked quinoa in a freezer back, and remove the excess air from the bag. Seal the bag, then label and date it. Alternatively, the quinoa can be placed in a rigid freezer safe container. Pour the a quinoa into the container and place a layer of plastic wrap over the quinoa before placing the lid on it.
How to Defrost Cooked Quinoa?
If you would like to have the quinoa portioned out into individual serving sizes, portion the quinoa out into small freezer bags. Place the sealed, smaller freezer bags into a larger freezer bag. To thaw out the quinoa, simply remove a small bag and allow the quinoa to thaw in the refrigerator. Alternatively, add the quinoa to a recipe from frozen and allow it to thaw while cooking. Frozen quinoa can also be thawed in the microwave. Keep extra thawed quinoa in the refrigerator and use within two days for best results.