Beansprouts are a staple element of Asian cuisine. Their fragile and delicate structure may not seem suited to freezing, but you can freeze beansprouts well.
Beansprouts are very high in Vitamin C, fiber, copper, and folic acid. They are an excellent food to include as part of a healthy balanced diet. Copper is said to improve cardiovascular and kidney health, as well as having positive impacts on the skin and muscle tissue.
There are 2 main types of beansprouts, mung, and soy. Mung bean sprouts have a green cap and are smaller. Soybean sprouts are larger and have a yellow cap. They are used as more of a textural element usually as their flavor is mild. They are also frequently used to add bulk to dishes.
It is not advisable to eat them raw due to their high risk of bacterial growth. Prior to freezing, they should be stored in the refrigerator at all times to reduce the risk of contamination.
Beansprouts have a very short shelf life when refrigerated of only up to about 5 days. This is not long enough for people to use them if they are living alone or do not cook with beansprouts that often.
In order to reduce your food waste, you can follow these instructions and feel confident in freezing beansprouts to prolong the shelf life. If you follow our tips and freeze beansprouts carefully, they will remain safe to eat for 10 to 12 months in the freezer.
How to freeze Beansprouts
The first step to freezing beansprouts, as with any produce, is to wash them. This is important to remove dirt and bacteria from the surface of the beansprouts. Gently agitate them under running water to do this effectively. Pat the beansprouts dry.
We advise blanching beansprouts prior to freezing. Bring a large pan of water filled ⅔ of the way to a rolling boil. This means that even if you stir the water, the bubbles do not stop forming on the surface.
While the water is boiling, we suggest preparing a large bowl of iced water. This is used to halt the cooking process quickly to ensure the beansprouts do not overcook.
Place the beansprouts in the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Do not add too many at once as this will cause the water temperature to drop rapidly. This can lead to uneven cooking.
Remove the beansprouts with a slotted spoon and transfer immediately to the ice water, for about 30 seconds. Do not leave them in here for too long, as beansprouts have a tendency to absorb a lot of water and go soggy.
Place the beansprouts on a dishtowel or paper towels to dry. Do not stack them up on top of each other to get the best results. The beansprouts should be as dry as possible before freezing to prevent freezer burn forming.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the beansprouts in a flat, single layer on top. Try to keep them as separate as possible with not too many points of contact. This will prevent them from freezing together.
Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer. Wait 15 minutes and then check to see if they have hardened. Repeat this process every 5 minutes until they have frozen solid.
Separate the beansprouts into desired serving sizes. Place in a ziplock freezer bag or rigid plastic container. Ensure you leave at least ½ inch of space at the top of the container for the beansprouts to expand into.
Press out any excess air before sealing. Label clearly with the contents, portion size, and date frozen before storing them in the freezer.
How to defrost BEANSPROUTS
Transfer the frozen beansprouts to the refrigerator a few hours before you want to use them. As they have a delicate structure, it is best to allow the beansprouts to thaw gently to retain their best condition.
We do not recommend thawing the beansprouts in the microwave. This is because they can become soft and mushy due to the intense heat.
If you are planning on using the frozen beansprouts in a stir-fry or soup there is no need to thaw. You can simply add them in frozen and the heat from the pot will cook them perfectly.
Factors to consider before freezing BEANSPROUTS
We recommend blanching the beansprouts to preserve their flavor and crisp texture. If the ice in the water begins to melt, add more.
Despite this, beansprouts may lose some of their crispness and become soggier once thawed. This is because they have a very high water content of about 90%.
This means that many ice crystals will form inside each beansprout. The irregular structure can cause damage to the cells in the beansprouts, altering the texture.
If your beansprouts clump together when they freeze, this is not a huge issue. It simply means that you will have a harder time portioning them out once frozen.
We suggest using a rigid airtight container to store your beansprouts in the freezer. This is because beansprouts are very fragile and can break easily if knocked. A rigid container will provide a layer of protection against this damage occurring in the freezer.
We do not advise refreezing beansprouts. This is because they can very easily grow harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, E. Coli, and Listeria.
Thawing and refreezing provide the perfect grounds for these bacteria to grow and multiply. This can make you get food poisoning, which no one wants.
Beansprouts are not the best candidate for freezing as their high water content can cause textural changes after freezing and thawing. This does not mean that they cannot be frozen, but this is something to be aware of.
We advise flash freezing the beansprouts to stop them from sticking together in the freezer. Individual portions are also advised to reduce unnecessary food waste.
If you freeze and store the beansprouts correctly, they will last up to a year in the freezer.