Q. My family eats traditional polenta on a regular basis, but it’s time consuming to make. I usually save making it for weekends because of all the standing over the stove and stirring, which I just don’t have the energy for during the week. I would like to be able to enjoy polenta with my family any day of the week, without all the fuss involved in making it. I would prefer to be able to make a large batch, and then save some servings for later. The only way I can think of doing that is by freezing it. Can you freeze polenta?
A. Yes, you can freeze polenta. Depending on how you prefer to eat it, you can either serve it in pieces or in a large portion. Polenta is essentially cornmeal cooked in water. Sometimes butter, cream, or other sauces are added to the finished product. It can be eaten thickened and cut into slices, or in a creamier state. To avoid excess ice crystals from forming, place polenta in the coldest part of the freezer to speed up the freezing process.
How to freeze polenta?
To freeze polenta in either form, it’s best to chill the polenta completely before freezing it. For polenta that will be eaten in slices, first pour out the polenta in a shallow container lined with parchment paper, spreading the polenta out with a spatula. Allow the polenta to cool completely in the fridge before cutting it into the desired shapes with a plastic knife. Then, remove the pieces and place slices of parchment paper in between each slice. Wrap the stacks of slices in a double layer of plastic wrap, and then place them in a freezer bag. Squeeze out the excess air and then seal and label the bags. To thaw, remove the polenta from the freezer, then reheat in a frying pan or in the oven.
To freeze polenta in its creamier form, cook it without additional sauces or ingredients, adding them after thawing the polenta at a later date. Pour the polenta into a container and place in the refrigerator. Once the polenta is cooled, it will be semi-solid and should retain its shape. Remove it from the container and wrap it in a double layer of plastic wrap. Place the polenta in a freezer bag, remove the excess air, then seal and label the bag. To thaw, remove the polenta from the freezer and reheat it in a saucepan, adding any extra ingredients at this time.