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    Does anyone know why we are told to freeze beans in the liquid they were cooked in?

    I have weeks of hot weather headed my way and would like to freeze a stash in wide mouth mason jars to avoid heating the kitchen. These are for salad, so the liquid will just get drained — an extra step. So why do it? What difference does it make?

    Laura Pazzaglia

    Well, at least after cooking you want to store cooked beans in their cooking liquid while they’re cooling to keep them from drying out.

    I don’t really know why you’re supposed to freeze them in the liquid. I’ve never personally done it because I don’t cook batches of beans ahead of time (though I soak them ahead of time). Maybe so you can use the liquid in the recipe? I can’t imagine that they would be too damaged if drained and closed tightly before freezing – though.

    I’m interested to hear what everyone else thinks or has done in this situation.




    I always freeze in the liquid. I don’t know if it is necessary. I assumed it was because that is how they are canned.

    But.. since you can buy frozen corn and peas and spinach etc. it probably isn’t. Best way to find out is to try both ways.


    Well, you know me, @Helen — always trying to avoid kitchen heartbreak by talking it through first. I’ve frozen chickpeas in past summers to make throwing together hummus in the heat easier. The bean water expands into a frozen peak that sometimes dents the lid, which I don’t like. Hummus gets whizzed in the food processor, so can’t say what freezing does to the chickpea texture. Today, however, I’m freezing small red beans, so we’ll see!

    @Laura, I’ve sometimes thought I should have jars of beans in the freezer the way many people have cans stocked in the pantry, at least during summer. I think the show-stopper would be if they get too mushy. But I can’t see how being immersed would moderate this; if anything, you’d think the surrounding bean water, freezing into crystals, would puncture the bean skins more than no liquid would. We’ll see.


    The verdict is in. I froze one with bean liquid, one without. No difference in the texture or flavor that I can tell. Seemed fine for salad. Neither got mushy or blown out.

    This seemed worth finding out because the small red beans I buy consistently hydrate and cook unevenly. In the PC, by the time all are softened, many of the faster cooking ones have blown out. In traditional Louisiana red beans and rice, this doesn’t matter because you want the beans to produce a sauce that coats the rice. But it’s a problem if using the beans in a salad, where you want them intact.

    So far, the best way I’ve found to keep them intact is to salt-soak for about 17 hours to hydrate and flavor them and then cook them in a low 250 degree oven — where the skins don’t rupture from boiling — for 50 minutes to an hour. One doesn’t want to do all this too often, especially in summer, hence making a big batch to freeze.

    And if one needn’t strain off the liquid when one uses a defrosted jar, all the more convenient.

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