Open my fridge, and you’ll always find a big bag of bean sprouts. My vegan dishes aren’t complete if they’re not drowned with these sprouted mung beans!
Bean sprouts, aka mung bean sprouts, are known for their crisp, clean taste and mild flavor. They come from mung beans and are a staple in Asian cooking and vegan dishes. Bean sprouts are used to make soups, salads, stir-fries, spring rolls, sandwiches, and stews. In addition, bean sprouts are now being praised for their high nutritional content.
As great as they are, bean sprouts have one problem – they always seem to come in large bags. Often more than you could possibly use in one go. Before you know it, it turns into a big soggy mess that you have to clean up. So, will freezing them help save you from disappointment? Can you freeze bean sprouts?
Let’s take a look at whether you can or can’t freeze bean sprouts and discuss other related aspects. Then, maybe we’ll be able to save the almost full bag that’s in the back of your fridge!
Can You Freeze Bean Sprouts?
Finding bean sprouts isn’t always possible. And when you do, they can go bad before you even decide what you’re going to do with them. So, to prolong their shelf-life, is it possible to freeze them?
Bean sprouts are often placed in the refrigerator, where they last about 2 to 3 days before they become wet and soggy.
There’s good news though! You can freeze bean sprouts in order to extend their shelf-life and save your money. However, the texture might change if they are not appropriately frozen.
How to Prepare Bean Sprouts for Freezing
Now that we know that we can freeze bean sprouts, there’s a specific method you have to follow to get the best results. Before you do anything, you’re going to have to prepare them for freezing.
Freezing bean sprouts without a bit of preparation will leave you with undesirable soggy sprouts that you’ll likely end up throwing out. The crunchiness of the sprouts is attributed to their high-water content. To retain the crunchy texture, you need to blanch them before freezing.
Why Blanching is Important
Blanching before freezing stops the bean sprouts from ripening further. This preserves the texture and flavor while they’re frozen. Without this step, the crunchy texture won’t be retained after it is defrosted. Also, blanching can help lessen the bitter taste of bean sprouts.
How to Blanch Bean Sprouts
Before you do anything, make sure to wash the bean sprouts thoroughly. If any dirt remains on the surface, wipe it with a clean cloth. Then, get ready to blanch. First, fill a pot with water. Leave it to boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water and place it nearby.
Bean sprouts only need a quick blanch in boiling water. Immerse the bean sprouts in the water for 3 minutes. Then, remove them and directly place them in the ice bath for 3 minutes. Bean sprouts tend to cook quickly, so it’s important to immediately put them in the ice water to stop the cooking process. Finally, remove them from the ice bath and drain off the moisture.
To remove excess moisture, you can keep sprouts in a strainer in the sink. Another way to do so is by laying them out on a paper towel after being strained. It is important for the bean sprouts to be removed from their excess moisture as freezing them without doing so will make them thaw poorly. Now that that’s out of the way, get ready to freeze them.
How to Freeze Bean Sprouts
After preparing the bean sprouts, it’s time for the actual freezing part.
Grab your dried bean sprouts and transfer them into freezer bags or airtight freezer-safe containers. It is essential not to overfill the bag or container because bean sprouts bruise easily. It’s best to split them into manageable small portions to avoid bruising and be easier to thaw. Make sure to tightly seal your container to prevent any frost from entering.
Now you can pop the bean sprouts bag or container in the freezer. Once they have been in the freezer for about 30 minutes, shake the bag vigorously. This will separate the sprouts and prevent them from clumping. Then, put it back in the freezer, and let it freeze.
How Long Do Bean Sprouts Last in the Freezer?
Now that the bags of bean sprouts are in the freezer, how long can they stay there?
You can store bean sprouts in the freezer for about ten months!
That is plenty of time to use them with all your favorite dishes. This is, of course, if they have been frozen correctly. As always, the temperature of the freezer must be kept at a constant 0° Fahrenheit (or -18 degrees Celsius) to extend the bean sprout’s shelf life.
How to Defrost Frozen Bean Sprouts
After freezing, you’re probably going to want to defrost them before consuming them. This is how to do so.
To thaw bean sprouts, move the bag or the amount you need from the freezer and place them in the fridge. Let the veggies thaw out completely for 2 hours or so. Then, drain the excess liquids, and the bean sprouts are ready.
Another way you can defrost frozen bean sprouts is by putting them in a bowl filled with cold water. Allow the water to be higher than the top of the sprouts. Keep them in the water until they’re completely defrosted. Then drain and enjoy.
Do not defrost them and leave them at room temperature while they are exposed to air. This will result in a loss of crispiness.
How to Use Frozen Bean Sprouts
Good news! You don’t always need to defrost frozen bean sprouts. Instead, you can use them as is!
If you’re making soup, stir-fry, or another hot dish, you can throw the frozen bean sprouts right into the hot dish during cooking. Just toss them in the pot or pan that you’re using to boil or fry.
Can You Refreeze Bean Sprouts?
If you grabbed that bag of bean sprouts from the freezer, defrosted it, and realized you don’t need that much for your recipe, can you refreeze the remainder?
Like most foods, refreezing bean sprouts is not recommended. One vital element that bean sprouts bring to a dish is their crunchiness. After all, we did that whole preparation step to preserve that texture. If you refreeze the bean sprouts, you’ll be losing that crunch and desirable texture.
Once thawed, it is best to use the bean sprouts fully. You can also freeze individual portions to avoid leftovers.
How to Tell if Bean Sprouts Have Gone Bad
No one wants spoiled food. That is why there are tell-tale signs you should know to identify if the bean sprouts have gone bad or not.
A major red flag is finding mold on the bean sprouts. Fuzzy hairs or any other sign of mold calls for a need to throw the sprouts away-all of them, not just the ones that have mold on them.
Also, you should discard the bean sprouts when they turn soft, moist, or slimy. In addition, the smell of the sprouts can change and become distinctively off from the original smell of fresh bean sprouts. This odor is a bit musty. These signs don’t necessarily indicate that the veggies are not safe to eat, but instead that their quality has diminished. They will taste off, and you’ll likely not want to eat them.