Jambalaya is a delicious dish that is popular in Louisiana and has its origins in France and Spain. It is a rice dish generally containing shrimp, chicken, and vegetables. However, the flavor and ingredients can be as varied as pizza toppings.
It can contain crawfish instead of shrimp or smoked pork sausage instead of chicken, and it can be either spicy or mild. It’s up to the cook to decide how much spice to add depending on people’s tastes. It is usually made in a large pot so you may end up with leftovers.
If you think that you can use the jambalaya within three to four days, you can keep it in the fridge. However, you might have a lot left over so can you freeze it? The answer is yes, and in this article, we will tell you how to freeze jambalaya and how to defrost it.
How To Freeze Jambalaya
You can freeze all types of jambalaya whether it is fish or meat based or both. This is the way to freeze it:
1. Cook the jambalaya according to your favorite recipe.
2. Cool down the jambalaya.
You need to cool down the jambalaya before you put it in the freezer otherwise it will bring up the temperature and other food in the freezer may start to defrost. This may cause the food in the freezer to spoil and cause food poisoning. To speed up the cooling process, transfer the jambalaya into a cold bowl or pot. You don’t want to leave the jambalaya out for longer than two hours as after this time bacteria can start to form, and you could end up with an upset stomach or worse.
3. Divide the jambalaya into portions.
It is a good idea to divide the jambalaya into meal-size portions so that you only defrost as much as you need. Otherwise, you could end up throwing some away. When you divide it up, ensure that you have put an equal amount of fish, meat, and rice into each portion.
4. Put the jambalaya into airtight containers.
Leave an inch of space at the top of the jambalaya in case it expands when it is frozen. Put a label on each container with the date so that you don’t leave them in the freezer for too long.
5. Put the containers in the freezer.
Tips For freezing Jambalaya
- Divide the jambalaya into meal-size portions. If you defrost too much you may end up wasting some.
- Don’t freeze shrimp as it doesn’t freeze well. It tends to go chewy. You can always fry up some shrimp when you are ready to reheat the defrosted jambalaya and then add it to the leftovers. Shrimp doesn’t take long to cook so it shouldn’t be a problem.
- You can reheat the jambalaya in the oven or microwave but the best way to do it is on the stovetop as you can keep a better eye on it. If you reheat it in the microwave, it can dry out.
- If you put the jambalaya in the fridge thinking you are going to use it but don’t, you can still freeze it as long as it has only been in the fridge for a couple of days.
For How Long Can You Freeze Jambalaya?
You can freeze jambalaya for up to three months. After this time, it will probably still be safe to eat, but it will start to become dry and tasteless.
How Do You Defrost Jambalaya?
You mustn’t defrost the jambalaya on your countertop. This is because it contains meat or fish and rice, and all tend to spoil easily. The best way to defrost jambalaya is in the fridge. Put the frozen jambalaya in the fridge and leave it to defrost overnight. Reheat it on the stove rather than the microwave as it can dry out.
It’s not a good idea to reheat the jambalaya from frozen as this can cause the rice to go mushy.
Can You Refreeze Jambalaya?
No, you shouldn’t refreeze the jambalaya. It has a wide variety of ingredients including meat, fish, vegetables, and rice, and some of these can spoil if you refreeze them. This is especially true of meat and fish as they are prone to bacteria forming. In addition, the whole process of freezing, defrosting, and refreezing can ruin the texture of the jambalaya. Because of this, divide the jambalaya into meal-size portions so that you only defrost what you need. Otherwise, you will have to throw the remainder away.
Is It A Good Idea To Freeze Jambalaya?
As long as you don’t freeze the jambalaya with shrimp in it, it will freeze well for around three months. It will retain most of the taste and texture and you will have easy meals for some time to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing jambalaya but in case you are still curious about freezing jambalaya or topics related to this dish, we have answered a few questions here.
Gumbo is a thick soup that is very popular in Louisiana. It is composed of a strongly flavored stock, meat or shellfish or both, a thickener, and the Creole ‘Holy Trinity’, celery, bell peppers, and onions. The good news is that it can be frozen. Divide it into meal-size portions and put it in airtight containers. If it just contains meat, it can be frozen for around six months but if it contains shellfish or seafood, you can only keep it in the freezer for three months. As with jambalaya, don’t freeze shrimp as it becomes chewy. If you want to put it in the dish, fry it up when you defrost the gumbo and then add it to the dish.
This is another popular Louisiana dish. Again, divide it into meal-size portions and freeze it in either freezer bags or airtight containers. If you use freezer bags, squeeze out all the air so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. Freezer burn ruins the taste and texture of your food.
Yes, it is, as long as you cool it down quickly. Don’t leave it at room temperature for longer than two hours otherwise, bacteria will start to form and the rice could make you sick.