Gravy is an integral part of many dishes, and people consider it sacrilegious to eat certain meals without it.
We are here to tell you that you can freeze gravy if you have a lot left over.
Gravy is traditionally made using the roasting juices from a joint of meat.
There are 2 types: flour and cream-based gravy. The meat juices are combined with flour, butter, milk, cream, and stock, depending on which type you are making.
The combined gravy is very perishable and should be disposed of after sitting at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
Gravy is hugely versatile. It is an integral part of Thanksgiving dinner, can be used as a sauce for Swedish meatballs, and can be added to soups and stews to enhance the dish’s richness and flavor.
There is never a time where gravy couldn’t improve a dish, and we’re here to ensure you never run out and always have stock in the freezer.
In order to prevent food waste, save you money and save time faffing about with making gravy, we are here to give you tips to safely freeze gravy for up to 4 months.
How to freeze gravy
To thaw frozen gravy, transfer the desired quantity from the freezer the night before you wish to consume. Place on a small plate in the refrigerator and allow it to thaw completely overnight.
The gravy is likely to separate when it thaws, particularly if it contains milk or cream. Do not worry too much about this, as a good mix will return it to its original state.
You can then reheat the thawed gravy. Pour into a small saucepan and warm over a medium heat, stirring constantly. Warm for 2 to 3 minutes, until the gravy is hot all the way through and has simmered.
If you forget to thaw the gravy in the refrigerator, you can simply add to a saucepan and thaw over medium heat. This may result in a slightly thin gravy, but this is easily rectified with cornstarch or gravy granules.
You can also thaw frozen gravy in the microwave for very fast results. Transfer to a microwave-safe, shallow dish. Heat in 30-second intervals, stirring between each. Continue this process until the gravy is completely thawed and piping hot all the way through.
How to defrost gravy
If you have opted to freeze the heavy cream in ice-cube trays and are adding directly to a hot pot, there is no need to thaw the individual cubes.
If you want to whip the heavy cream, or plan to use to create a cold dish, thaw out the desired quantities of heavy cream in the fridge for a few hours.
To thaw larger quantities, remove the heavy cream from the freezer 24-48 hours before you will need to use it. The size of the container will dictate how long the heavy cream will take to thaw.
It is vital to shake or stir the heavy cream well before you use it. This redistributes the fat in the butter, and will help to get rid of the grainy texture.
If the texture is still grainy, you can add some confectioner’s sugar which will help to smooth out the lumps.
The cream will be runnier in texture, but do not worry. The cold temperature will actually aid the cream’s ability to hold the air, making it whip even better than refrigerator temperature.
If you are attempting to thaw whipped heavy cream, you must allow it to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes prior to usage. This allows it to return to the correct consistency and you can use it as a topping on pies and other desserts.
If you leave it out to thaw completely, it will melt, so do not use if you need to transport or store the dessert.
If you freeze quenelles of whipped cream, you can pop in the top of a mug of hot cocoa to create the perfect warming fall drink.
Factors to consider before freezing gravy
Flour-based gravy holds up much better to freezing than cream-based gravy. These are best stored in the refrigerator and thrown away after 4 to 5 days.
The fat and milk particles in the gravy are likely to separate when thawed. This can give the gravy a grainy texture. If you know that you will be freezing the gravy in advance, we recommend minimizing the amount of milk and fat added to the gravy.
Some people also suggest blending the gravy with a food processor before freezing. This reduces the chances of the gravy separating.
If the leftover gravy has been touched by contaminated serving spoons, we do not recommend freezing it. This is because if other food particles have made their way into the gravy this can cause harmful bacterial growth. This in turn can lead to food poisoning, something no one wants.
If you are freezing gravy in individual portions, we recommend writing the volume of gravy on the exterior of the container, so you know how much you are thawing.
If freezing in an ice cube tray, we advise measuring the volume of each cube before filling with gravy. A standard ice cube tray has cubes of 2 tablespoons in volume, but this can vary between manufacturers.
If your gravy is too thin following thawing, you can make a cornflour slurry. This is a 2:1 ratio of cornstarch to water, mixed to form a thick paste. This is then whisked through the gravy while it is simmering, in order to thicken the liquid.
If your gravy is too thick, stir through some water or stock. Additional water and vigorous whisking can help to re-emulsify gravy that has separated.
While all gravy can be frozen, flour-based gravy thaws much better than cream-based gravy. Floury gravy can be frozen for up to 4 months with little detrimental effects.
Gravy is likely to split when thawed, however, this can be easily rectified through vigorous mixing. It is important to stir gravy constantly when reheating to reduce the risk of lumps forming.
There are many ways to thaw gravy and it all comes down to personal preference. We do not advise refreezing thawed gravy due to the risk of harmful bacterial growth.
If stored correctly, gravy can be frozen for up to 4 months.