Pâté is a delicious spreadable paste that originated in France and Belgium. It is perfect as a snack on crackers or used as a spread in sandwiches.
In traditional recipes, pâté is made from duck or chicken liver, onions, herbs, and spices. These are blended together until they make a smooth, creamy paste.
Modern recipes often add lots of different ingredients including fruit, fish, pork, and nuts. You can even make or buy vegetarian pâté.
Most of the time, pâté is sold as long slices in plastic trays. When you make pâté you will make a block of it and slice it for serving.
These slices can last in the fridge for about 2 days once opened and need to be refrigerated.
You can also buy pate in jars or tins. You’ll notice that the jars are fairly small. This is because the pâté has such a short shelf life. They don’t sell huge quantities so that it’s not wasted.
You can tell if pâté has gone bad in the fridge because it will start to leak. The liquid that comes off it will be rancid and slightly slimy. If you notice liquid in or around your pâté it’s time to get rid of it!
You can, however, freeze pâté to prevent it from spoiling after a few days.
How to Freeze Pâté
The first thing you need to do is portion out your pâté. There’s no point freezing the whole jar only to defrost it and use a spoonful. The rest of the jar will go to waste!
One of the easiest ways to portion out pâté is to use an ice cube tray. Spoon the pâté into the tray or molds and use the back of the spoon to level off the top.
Place the now filled ice cube trays into the freezer and leave them for 1 to 2 hours. Only remove the trays when the pâté is solid all the way through.
You can then pop out the pâté cubes and wrap them individually for freezing. You should use wax paper or plastic wrap. Make sure to wrap them tightly so that the pâté is exposed to as little air as possible.
Once wrapped, you can put these cubes into a zip lock bag. You can put them all in one bag rather than individual bags.
Make sure to squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing it. Air will dry out your pâté and make it spoil.
If you haven’t got zip lock bags, any container will do. You are just trying to prevent your pâté cubes from getting lost and crushed in the freezer.
Label the container with the date and then pop it in the freezer. You can store pâté for around 3 months. The taste and texture will begin to change after this time thanks to the high-fat content.
Defrosting Frozen Pâté.
If you’ve properly portioned out your pâté, defrosting should be a breeze! You just need to grab what you need from the freezer.
Unwrap your pâté and place it on a plate in the fridge overnight. Depending on the size of your portions, you might be able to consume within a few hours.
The key thing is making sure it is thawed all the way through. Eager though you might be to dive into the rich hearty goodness of pâté, you don’t want a frozen chunk to ruin your meal.
In general, we always advise you not to defrost food at room temperature. This gives bacteria a chance to grow and populate your food.
However, if your pâté has a high butter content, you can defrost it at room temperature. This is because of the high fat content and low water content of butter. This combination actually limits bacterial growth.
If you want to speed up the defrosting process, you can use tap water.
You’ll need to wrap your pâté in a small, sealable plastic bag before submerging it in tap water.
You might need to replace the tap water every so often. This is because the frozen pâté can cool the water.
The water should be about room temperature. Too hot and the fat in the pâté will start to melt and ooze. This will also encourage bacteria to grow. If the water is too cold, the pâté will take longer to defrost.
In general, this method of thawing takes about an hour, depending on the size of the portion and the temperature of the water.
Factors to consider before freezing Pâté
While you can freeze pâté to extend its shelf life, it is better to eat it soon after purchasing.
Pâté has a high fat content. This means that you will likely notice a change in flavor when eating it after freezing.
Fat doesn’t freezer the same way as water and other foods. This is because of the long chains of lipids fat contains.
When frozen, fats lose some of their flavor and intensity. This is why you’ll notice a change in the overall flavor of defrosted pâté.
Fats also don’t freeze quite as hard as water. You should try to avoid putting your frozen pâté at the bottom of your freezer where it will be squashed or chipped.
If, when you defrost the pâté, you notice a sharp acidic smell your pâté has probably gone off. The smell will be from the rancid fat within the pâté.
Pâté is a rich and delicious treat that is best eaten fresh. Sometimes, however, there’s just too much pâté to use in one go.
If you do find yourself with excess pâté, you can freeze it for later use. There will be a slight change in flavor, but it should be good to eat for up to 3 months.
The sooner you freeze your pâté after purchase, the better it will taste later. You don’t want to freeze pâté that is on the verge of becoming rancid. By that point, it’s too late.