Do you want to add extra crunch and mild flavors to your dishes? Bean sprouts are an exceptional option or even a staple ingredient that will provide your dish with that extra flavorful crunch. As bean sprouts are relatively cheap, you can buy a bag then freeze the leftovers for future use. However, you will need to follow steps to effectively preserve these sprouts and avoid wasting them in the end. We looked through authoritative sites and found the easiest steps for freezing bean sprouts.
The following are the 4 essential steps in freezing bean sprouts for best results:
- Blanch the bean sprouts in a pot of boiling water.
- Give the bean sprouts an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Flash freeze the bean sprouts for 10 minutes.
- Stack the bean sprouts in a freezer-ready bag and freeze.
That’s how easy it is to keep your bean sprouts in the freezer. But before you implement those steps, let us tell you more details on what happens in each step and why it’s necessary to follow them. So be sure to keep reading.
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How do you blanch bean sprouts for freezing?
Because beans sprouts have a high concentration of water, they can rot as fast as 2–5 days after leaving them on the counter or in the fridge. That’s why blanching is the most necessary step in the freezing process. Find the proper blanching process for bean sprouts and the other steps in preparing them for freezing below.
Blanch the bean sprouts in a pot of a boiling water
1. As with most produce, you should first wash the bean sprouts. A fast and efficient way of cleaning the sprouts is to thoroughly rinse them under running water. This helps in making sure that the dirt is washed off immediately and does not get stuck in the sprouts.
2. Once done, fill a pot or a saucepan with enough water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of cold water with ice that you will use to cool down the sprouts after blanching.
3. Once the water has already boiled for 2 minutes, start adding the bean sprouts for blanching. Immerse the bean sprouts in the boiling water for not more than 3 minutes. Afterward, use a spider strainer to easily scoop up the beans.
Here’s a tip that will save you the frustration if you found that your blanching process has not done its magic. Blanch the sprouts in batches. Do not blanch a whole bag of bean sprouts altogether, as this makes the blanching inconsistent and uneven.
4. After blanching the bean sprouts, immediately immerse them for 3 minutes in the bowl of ice water you prepared beforehand. This will prevent overcooking and help in preserving the flavor and the crunch. Once done, spread the bean sprouts in a tray covered with kitchen tissue to remove as much water as possible.
Storing bean sprouts in the freezer
1. Leave the tray of bean sprouts in the freezer for 10 minutes or until they have hardened. This process is common when freezing veggies, such as asparagus, spinach, and butternut squash.
2. After the bean sprouts have reached preferable hardness, remove them from the freezer and start packing them in a freezer-ready bag. Do not overstuff them in one bag to avoid unnecessarily crushing the sprouts.
3. Label each bag accordingly and place it in the freezer, preferably in an area where it will stay untouched until the day you use it.
How long can you freeze bean sprouts?
By following the steps above, your bean sprouts can last from 10–12 months in the freezer despite their high water content. However, this does not mean that its original flavor, crispness, and texture will stay the same in that time. Freezing can only do so much in extending the bean sprouts’ shelf life, after all.
So, what is the recommended freezing timeframe for bean sprouts that will still provide a fresh taste? Experts say that you should only keep the bean sprouts frozen for 3 months if you want them to still give the crunchy texture. Although going beyond that time will not make the bean sprouts go bad, its unique mild flavor will no longer be present.
Can raw bean sprouts be frozen?
The average shelf life of bean sprouts is around 3 to 5 days. Freezing can extend that, but blanching is necessary. We do not recommend freezing raw bean sprouts without blanching them.
Freezing bean sprouts raw will only shorten its shelf life despite being in the freezer. Do you know why? Because just like all vegetables, bean sprouts contain an enzyme responsible for making them grow and mature. Freezing the bean sprouts directly will allow these enzymes to work continuously, even in the freezer. The result? Undesirably soggy and mushy texture. You don’t want that to be part of your dish, do you?
So, we suggest that you always blanch your leftover bean sprouts first as this will kill the enzymes, putting a stop to the maturation process, thus, keeping the flavor and crispness.
How do you keep bean sprouts from going bad?
Now, if you find yourself sidetracked or busy with other tasks after buying a bag of bean sprouts, leaving the sprouts in the bag unattended, you’ll be looking forward to slimy bean sprouts when you get back.
Keeping the bean sprouts fresh by the time you freeze them is easy. And you can do it in two ways. You only have to remember that the most important step is to take it out of the plastic bag immediately. Once you’re done, choose from any of the methods below.
1. Lemon and water immersion method
After washing the bean sprouts, fill a bowl or a small basin with just enough water to make the sprouts float. Cut a few slices of lemon and put them on top of the floating bean sprouts. Place in the fridge and use whenever you want within a day or two.
2. Water absorbent paper or fabric method
For this method, prepare a large airtight container. It’s necessary that you only use this type of container to reduce air exposure that can hasten the changes in taste and texture of the bean sprouts.
Next, cover the inside of the container with a kitchen napkin or a clean cloth, which will help absorb the moisture. Afterward, store in the fridge and use within 2 days.
You can keep bean sprouts edible without putting them in the freezer for 2 days at best. Left unchecked, bean sprouts can cause food poisoning. So, we suggest you freeze them instead, even if you don’t plan on keeping them for long.
Can you use frozen bean sprouts?
You can certainly use frozen bean sprouts. That’s the main point of freezing them in the first place, after all. You can directly add them to your salad or mix them with your beef and bean sprout recipe.
And the best thing about using them after freezing is that thawing them is not necessary as the ice can melt easily. However, should you use a mountain of frozen bean sprouts, you can thaw them in the fridge for at least an hour as the ice melts fast, thanks to their small size. Or you can also thaw the bean sprouts in a bowl of water, provided that you use them immediately after defrosting. Do not freeze the sprouts when they're at room temperature because this will make the sprouts soft and less crunchy.
In the event that some of the defrosted bean sprouts don’t end up on your recipe, do not refreeze them as they will no longer have the crunch and flavor after being thawed. That’s why it’s important that you only get the right amount needed for your recipe.
Freezing your bean sprouts can keep these tiny culinary delights from going bad. It can also lock in their natural texture. Through the steps in this blog, you can avoid wasting your extra bean sprouts, and you can rest assured they will last for months.