Quinoa is a staple in many diets, though it is less widely available in some places when compared to rice or noodles.
It’s also packed full of goodness, such as high levels of iron, antioxidants, lysine, and amino acids.
Because it’s not as widely available, you may be tempted to freeze it, or you may not buy it as often as other staple foods.
The shelf life of quinoa is quite long by itself, where red, white, and black quinoa can be kept for up to 3 years in a pantry or fridge, in an airtight container.
Quinoa is more cost-effective when you buy it in larger quantities, and if you’re not sure if you’ll use it for ages, but you still want it to retain its freshness and nutritional value, freezing cooked quinoa is a good option.
As long as you prepare it properly, there’s no reason anyone will tell the difference. It also takes some of the time and effort out of making a dish from scratch, when you’ve already cooked the quinoa.
How Do You Freeze Cooked Quinoa?
How To Cook Quinoa
Weigh out as much quinoa as you need, and grab a large pan. Measure one part quinoa to two parts water, and allow the water to come to a boil.
Once it’s started boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, making sure to cover the pan. Wait until the water has been absorbed, which should take about 15 to 20 minutes in total, depending on how much quinoa you have.
How To Prepare Quinoa For The Freezer
Wait until the quinoa is fully cool before you go any further. If you want it to cool down faster, you can decant it onto a baking sheet, spreading it evenly across the surface, and this will rapidly speed up the process.
Divide the quinoa into serving-sized portions. If you’re unsure how much to go for, roughly one cup equals one serving. Small freezer bags will easily hold two servings, and it also saves room in the freezer.
Make sure to get rid of any excess air in each bag, as this will help protect the quinoa from freezer burn. Seal the bags, and put them into one large freezer bag, making sure to label it.
When cooked, quinoa will keep in the freezer for a maximum of 2 months, so don’t forget about it!
Keep it somewhere prominent in the freezer, and get into the habit of checking the freezer every few weeks for things which may be nearing their use-by date.
How Do You Thaw Frozen Quinoa?
When it is time to incorporate the quinoa into a dish of your choice, take as many bags out of the freezer as you need, and lay them flat on a plate.
Let them thaw at their own pace on the counter, and this should only take a maximum of 2 hours. Use it as normal.
Or, for a fuss-free defrosting method, you can decant the frozen quinoa into a microwave-safe container, and then cook it for a minute, and it will be ready to serve.
Quinoa is one of the most nutritional grains available, it stores well, and also cooks with no problems. It helps bulk out any meal and add another dimension to nearly any dish you can think of.
It also serves as a great alternative to pasta or rice (see also How To Freeze Uncooked Rice). Quinoa contains no gluten, making it perfect for anyone who cannot digest gluten, such as celiac sufferers or those who are allergic to it.
Like rice, it can be difficult to portion quinoa if you don’t cook it very often, so having the option of freezing leftover quinoa is the perfect solution.
Freezing quinoa also cuts down on food waste, and helps to keep these valuable nutrients, as well as keeping any pests away.
Depending on how you choose to defrost quinoa, it can be ready in minutes, saving you some total cooking time when it comes to making dishes from scratch.
So the next time you see quinoa on offer in your local grocery store, why not stock up, safe in the knowledge that you can keep it for longer?