I have not yet tasted a version of chop suey that I didn’t like. Its thoughtful ingredients create a dish with delicious flavors and an intriguing appearance.
Chop suey is a Chinese American stir-fried vegetable dish that can be cooked with pork, beef, chicken, shrimp, fish, eggs, or just with vegetables. The veggies, meat, and eggs are bound in a mouth-watering starch-thickened sauce and served with rice or noodles. The ingredients in the dish differ based on the chop suey recipe you’re following.
I started making chop suey as a way to incorporate more vegetables into my meals. However, this innocent attempt at eating healthier turned into a cooking obsession. I have tried, and quite impressively, succeeded in making chop suey with chicken, pork, and beef. If you don’t eat meat, there are also vegan chop suey recipes that are just as delicious.
If you’ve ever had leftover chop suey, the thought of freezing it probably crossed your mind. After all, you don’t want to throw it out if you can enjoy it another day!
So, can you freeze chop suey? Yes, you can! Chop suey lasts for up to 3 months in the freezer.
Keep reading to learn how to properly freeze and defrost it so it tastes just as good when you eat it again.
How Long Does Chop Suey Last?
I wish I could say that leftover chop suey lasts forever. However, that is far from the truth. Like other dishes containing perishable food items such as meat, the shelf life is limited.
How long any kind of chop suey lasts depends on several factors like its storage conditions, ingredients, etc. Most of the time, chop suey leftovers are kept in the fridge.
Chop suey should never be left outside the fridge for more than two hours. It is strongly advised to discard the chicken, beef, or pork chop suey if it sat out for more than two hours. At temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F (between 4.5°C and 60°C), bacteria grow rapidly.
Leftover pork, beef, and chicken chop suey will last for about 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator if properly stored. To maximize shelf life, chop suey should be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated within two hours of cooking or purchasing.
Properly stored refrigerated leftovers should not be consumed outside the 3-to-4-day time frame. After that, the food poisoning risks increase.
Can You Freeze Chop Suey?
But what if the 3-to-4-day window for the safety and quality of your leftover chop suey isn’t enough? Is it possible to extend its shelf life by sticking it in the freezer instead of the fridge?
I’ll get straight to it – yes, you can freeze chop suey! Chop suey freezes well. Its a great way to maximize the shelf life of your leftovers, as long as it’s done correctly, of course.
No matter if it is pork, beef, or chicken chop suey, you can keep it in the freezer for later use. As long as it’s stored properly, chop suey can maintain its quality in the freezer for around three months.
As mentioned earlier, chop suey lasts about 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. After that, you might be putting yourself at risk of food poisoning. That’s why, if you don’t find yourself able to eat the leftovers within four days, it is best to freeze them immediately.
How to Freeze Chop Suey
The secret to making food last longer in the freezer is to freeze it correctly. Many people skip this step, but your chop suey won’t survive the three months without it.
After you have cooked your delicious chop suey, let it cool down completely.
Then, place your chicken, pork, or beef chop suey in heavy-duty freezer bags or airtight containers. Finally, the easiest part of all, stick it straight into the freezer. The freezer must maintain a constant temperature of 0°F.
If your chop suey is not homemade, it’s riskier to freeze it as you aren’t sure of its handling process.
However, to maximize the safety and quality of the food, you can freeze it right after you get home or as soon as it is delivered to your house.
How to Defrost Chop Suey
As soon as I pop it in the freezer, I’m in a hurry to get the chop suey out and on my plate. But, to properly enjoy frozen food, you first need to defrost it.
Defrosting chop suey is simple. You just have to move it from the freezer to the fridge and let it defrost overnight. It must remain in a covered container, even in the refrigerator. Chicken, beef, or pork chop suey that has been thawed and kept in the fridge last for an additional 3 to 4 days before reheating or cooking.
Some people also thaw chop suey by placing it in the microwave or cold water. If one of those is the method you used to defrost, make sure to eat it immediately.
The thawing is always best to be done in the refrigerator. It should never be done at room temperature. Thawing chop suey at room temperature promotes bacterial multiplication and growth.
Once thawed, you can warm your chop suey in a skillet on the stovetop or in the microwave. If you are reheating beef chop suey, you can add a touch of beef stock or beef broth to keep it from drying out whilst maintaining its flavor. Likewise, add chicken stock or chicken broth to chicken chop suey and, you guessed it, pork broth or pork stock to pork chop suey.
Can You Refreeze Chop Suey?
So, now that we know freezing is an option for chop suey, you might be wondering if this process can be done twice.
In general, thawing and refreezing lead to a loss of quality in terms of texture and flavor. Thawing affects the quality due to the loss of moisture. In addition, when food is frozen, the cells within it expend and could burst. This leads to a mushy and less flavorful outcome. That is why freshly cooked food tastes better than frozen ones.
However, that is not to say that chop suey can’t be refrozen.
To safely refreeze, you must ensure that the thawed product is kept at a cold temperature and for no more than 3 to 4 days.
In addition, the thawing process should have been done perfectly in the fridge for safety’s sake. If you’re ever in doubt that the chop suey isn’t entirely safe to be refrozen, don’t refreeze.
How to Tell if Chop Suey Has Gone Bad
You go to grab that leftover chop suey that you’ve been thinking about all day, and you realize that something is off. Could it have gone bad?
If you have your doubts about the safety and quality of your chicken, pork, or beef chop suey, make sure to look for any signs of mold. Discard it if there are. In addition, observe its appearance to identify any change.
Also, chop suey that has gone bad will develop an off odor. The flavor will also be off but do not taste it or consume it if you’re skeptical. Once you have identified that it has gone bad, throw it out.