Ratatouille is a delicious vegetable dish that can be eaten either as a side or as an entree. It is a dish containing onion, zucchini, eggplant, red and green peppers, and tomatoes. You can add all sorts of herbs and spices such as thyme, oregano, coriander, and fennel seeds.
However, can you make a big batch of ratatouille and freeze some so that you can have a quick and easy meal after a hard day at work? The simple answer is yes although it is better to add the herbs after freezing as some herbs don’t freeze well. In this article, we will tell you how to freeze ratatouille and how to defrost it.
How To Freeze Ratatouille
1. Make the ratatouille.
It is a good idea to slightly undercook the vegetables so that they don’t become mushy when you come to reheat the ratatouille. If you have undercooked the vegetables, they will finish cooking when you reheat the dish.
2. Cool down the ratatouille.
It is a good idea to transfer the ratatouille to a cold dish to speed up the cooling process. You don’t want to leave the dish at room temperature for longer than two hours as, after this time, bacteria may start to form. It is also important that you don’t put the ratatouille in the freezer while it is still warm as it could bring up the temperature and other food may start to defrost. When this food refreezes, it may spoil.
3. Put the ratatouille in freezer bags or airtight containers.
If you have made a lot of ratatouille, it is a good idea to divide it into meal-size portions so that you only defrost as much as you need for one meal. This saves on waste. If you put the ratatouille into freezer bags, remember to squeeze out the air so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. Freezer burn ruins the taste and texture of your food. Put labels on the bags with the date you put them in the freezer and the contents.
4. Put the bags or containers in the freezer.
Tips For Freezing Ratatouille
- Undercook the ratatouille so that it doesn’t go soggy when it is reheated. If you are planning to eat some of the ratatouille straight after cooking, remove the amount you want to freeze about five minutes before it is fully cooked.
- Cool down your ratatouille in a cold dish to speed up the cooling process. You can put the bowl in the sink filled with room temperature water to speed this cooking time up even further. Don’t put it in the fridge to cool down as it will bring up the temperature and other food may spoil.
- If you are storing the ratatouille in freezer bags remember to squeeze the air out of them so that freezer burn doesn’t occur.
- Add herbs when you have defrosted your ratatouille as some herbs don’t freeze well. In addition, herbs add freshness and you will barely notice that you have frozen the ratatouille.
For How Long Can You Freeze Ratatouille?
You can freeze ratatouille for up to three months as long as you have wrapped it properly. As with most food, the earlier you eat it, the better it will taste.
How Do You Defrost Ratatouille?
The best way to defrost ratatouille is slowly and steadily. Take it out of the freezer the night before you are going to eat it and put it in the fridge. When you come to reheat it, make sure that the vegetables are cooked all the way through otherwise bacteria could form.
You can defrost ratatouille in the microwave but we don’t recommend it as the vegetables tend to go mushy.
If you have forgotten to defrost your ratatouille, you can put the freezer bag in a bowl of room temperature water and allow it to thaw out. It should take a couple of hours. However, you will need to reheat it immediately otherwise it will start to spoil.
Can You Refreeze Ratatouille?
It’s not a good idea to refreeze ratatouille. It isn’t dangerous but it will make the ratatouille mushy. This is because ice crystals are formed every time you freeze and freezing the same item twice will cause more crystals to form and make your dish soggy. To avoid having to refreeze, divide the ratatouille into meal-size portions so that you only defrost as much as you need.
Is It a Good Idea To Freeze Ratatouille?
As long as you slightly undercook the vegetables before freezing the ratatouille, the defrosted dish will be almost as good as fresh ratatouille.
It takes a while to slice the vegetables so it’s a good idea to do it in bulk. You can then enjoy quick meals for some time to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing ratatouille but in case you are still curious, we have answered a couple of questions here.
Can you keep ratatouille in the fridge?
Yes, you can keep ratatouille in the fridge. It lasts for around five days, so if you intend to eat it within this time frame, you can put it in the fridge rather than the freezer. You might want to put one portion in the fridge to eat within the next few days and the rest in the freezer. In fact, ratatouille tastes better a couple of days after it has been made, once the flavors have had a time to blend and develop.
Is there anything I can add to ratatouille to make it a little different?
Why not add some roasted chickpeas to the vegetables? Chickpeas add a smokey crunch and are full of protein and fiber. Add feta or halloumi cheese to make it Greek. You could add squash or pumpkin for a delicious fall dish. It would be great served at a Halloween party. For a tasty supper dish top the ratatouille with fried eggs. Ratatouille can also be used as a sauce for pasta. It is indeed a versatile dish.