You can buy kidney beans in cans or you can get them dried. They are popular with both vegetarians and vegans because they contain both plant-based protein and soluble fiber. They are a great staple to have at hand as you can make many different dishes such as chili, soup, and bean patties. However, can you freeze kidney beans? The resounding answer is yes. You can freeze them whether or not you have cooked them and you can even freeze leftover canned beans.
However, does the taste and texture change when you use thawed kidney beans? Yes, they may alter a little, but it won’t be that noticeable if you prepare the beans in the correct way.
Dried kidney beans keep indefinitely in the freezer if the temperature is kept at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. If you soak them before freezing, they will keep for four months, while cooked beans will keep for up to six months. If you want to freeze leftover canned kidney beans (see also Can You Freeze Pinto Beans), they will last for one month. However, it’s not worth opening a can of kidney beans to freeze as the shelf life of canned products is long and will exceed the time you can freeze them for.
In this article, we will be taking a look at how to freeze both cooked and uncooked beans (see also Freezing Baked Beans), as well as canned beans.
Freezing Kidney Beans
How to Freeze Dry or Uncooked Kidney Beans
The first step before freezing is to rinse the beans. If they are dirty, this could encourage bacteria to grow even in the freezer. They should be clean enough to use when they are defrosted without having to be rinsed again.
It is important to then sort through the beans. You don’t want to freeze beans that are rotting or split. You might find some more debris in them so get rid of it.
Dry the beans with a dishcloth or paper towels. You don’t want there to be excess water when you freeze the beans (see also ‘Can you Freeze Broad Beans?‘) as it will freeze and cling to the beans. This can change the taste and texture of the beans.
Put the beans in a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid. You need to be sure that there isn’t too much oxygen in the container as this can cause freezer burn. Freezer burn isn’t dangerous, but it can change the appearance and taste of your food. Don’t fill the beans right up to the top of the container as the contents will expand.
It is a good idea to put a label on the container with the date frozen and the contents. It’s all too easy to forget when you freeze something, especially if you freeze a lot of food.
How to Cook Dried Kidney Beans Before Freezing
Perhaps you want to cook your kidney beans before freezing so that you can use them in a recipe straight after they have been taken out of the freezer.
To do this, rinse your beans to get rid of any debris and dirt. Sort through them and pick out any beans that look rotten or broken. The next step is to soak them in water. You can either do a long soak and put them in cold water overnight. However, you can also do a short soak which takes two to six hours. Put them in warm water and change this as soon as the water gets cold. A short soak is more labor-intensive as you have to keep an eye on the water. When the soak is over, drain the liquid. You don’t want to keep any of the liquid as it may contain impurities. Then rinse the beans and put them in a pot. Boil for between half an hour and an hour. Then leave to cool down.
It is important to ensure that the beans are cooked through. If they’re not, they may cause you stomach problems which can be serious.
Once the beans have cooled down, drain the water and put them in resealable plastic bags. Make sure that you squeeze all the air out of the bags to stop freezer burn from occurring. Label the bags with the date and contents.
Freezing Leftover Cooked and Canned Kidney Beans
If you have cooked too many kidney beans or if you only need half a can, you can freeze the leftovers. It’s very simple. All you have to do is put the beans in a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid. This will stop freezer burn. The beans can expand when frozen so leave an inch of empty space at the top. Label the container and pop it into the freezer.
Defrosting and Reheating Frozen Kidney Beans
It is simple to defrost frozen kidney beans. Just put them in the fridge and they will thaw within a few hours. Then boil them for up to an hour until they are cooked through.
You don’t have to defrost cooked kidney beans. Just put them directly into the dish you are making. Be careful that you don’t put them on a high heat as they can split. If you add some salt, this helps to stop splitting. You can also heat up cooked beans in the microwave, but make sure that you use a low setting as again the beans may split.
Kidney beans are a versatile ingredient and can be used in a wide variety of soups and stews. They can also be added to salads such as a three-bean salad. They are highly nutritious and now that you know how to freeze and defrost them, you are all set to stock up your freezer.