I’m a bustling college student who usually can’t find enough time to prepare her own food, until I realized that late-night pizzas and fast foods are taking their toll on me. I wanted to try a healthy diet with whole grains and rice. Being a stickler for reheating frozen foods, can I just cook quinoa and freeze it for a month’s worth?
Quinoa, the Incan “mother of all grains”, is technically a seed. With its complete proteins and gluten-free properties, it’s no wonder that everyone wanted it as a superfood.
Quinoa may be preserved and frozen in whatever form, though cooked quinoa may have a shorter shelf life. It will stay good in the fridge for up to 5 days. You may freeze it indefinitely, of course. But for best quality, freeze it only up to 2 months and consume it within that time-frame.
Can You Freeze Cooked Quinoa
Cooking quinoa in batches ahead of time is the popular method of people who wants to save time, the same way that instant food manufacturers do.
The only difference is that manufacturers store it in a cold temperature of at least 4 degree Celsius for short-term consumption.
It’s difficult to find any store-bought cooked quinoa, perhaps, because it’s a risky business. Not that quinoa is easily contaminated, but it’s impractical to cook it and let its quality fade away by storing it longer than it should.
But freezing, of course, is the only way you could preserve cooked quinoa for long term. Remember, however, that its taste and texture may decline if frozen beyond the recommended period.
It’s difficult to determine whether cooked quinoa has expired. If you notice molds or an off-smell, then discard it away.
Do not thaw it in the fridge if you don’t want it to be viscous and mushy. Better yet, thaw it straight into the microwave and reheat for 60 seconds.
How to Preserve Quinoa
Many people cook a batch of quinoa on weekends for use later. If you intend to do just that, here are some fine tips and ways to cook quinoa for preservation purposes:
- Rinse the quinoa under running water in a mesh strainer (To wash away the bitter coating that naturally forms on the seed)
- Cook it like rice in a rice cooker or in a large pan
- Add two cups of water or broth for every cup of raw quinoa
- Bring it to a boil until most of the water has seeped in
- Reduce heat to minimum and cook until tender
- Let it cool for not more than 2 hours in room temperature
- Fill in your freezer bags with the cooked quinoa in a thin, flat layer (To avoid ice crystals from forming in the center)
- Label the container with the date and number of cups
- Squeeze out the air, seal and freeze
Cooked Quinoa Recipes
This Garlic Quinoa is a good alternative for protein in vegetarian meals. It may be a substitute for rice as a side dish in chicken, pork, beef or seafood dishes.
Have a low-fat fried rice with this Pork-Fried Quinoa recipe. The moist cooked quinoa absorbs all the flavor of smoked ham, garlic and onion as the mixture fries together in the pan.
Red Quinoa Steak is not really steak, but a combination of Shiitake mushroom, tofu and quinoa. It’s the alter ego of meat food in vegan diets.