Gumbo is a popular dish in the south, especially in Louisiana. The dish is made from base ingredients of flour and roux of oil. Then it’s combined with different spices and other ingredients to make a delicious wholesome meal.
Gumbo is easy to make and if you end up with leftovers, you can store them for later. Would freezing gumbo be an option to store them for later?
Can you freeze gumbo? Yes, you can freeze gumbo for 3-6 months. For gumbo without seafood, it will last 6 months. Gumbo with seafood will last for about 3 months. To ensure the gumbo stays fresh while in the freezer, there are a few steps and safety practices you need to follow.
Can You Freeze Gumbo With Shrimp?
When it comes to gumbo with shrimp, it’s perfectly fine to freeze them. You can freeze leftovers that you don’t want to go to waste.
However, if the gumbo also contains rice, you won’t be able to freeze it. Any other ingredients besides rice, you can freeze the gumbo.
Below are the steps in details to properly prepare gumbo for freezing:
Cool the gumbo
Gumbo needs to be cooled to room temperature before you can freeze it. Doing so will prevent the hot gumbo from causing condensation in the container.
Also, it helps prevents the gumbo from increasing the temperature in the freezer, which could lead to bacteria growth.
If you need the gumbo to cool down quickly, place the gumbo into a pot of ice water.
Portion The Gumbo
Portion the gumbo into the airtight container. By storing the gumbo in a portion, you won’t be left with any leftovers.
When pouring the gumbo into the container, leave about half an inch of space at the top. This will allow the gumbo to expand during freezing, which will prevent the container from cracking.
Seal The Container
Once the gumbo is in the container, check the seal on the lid for any damage. Lids that are not used for a long time could crack. If there is a crack, air will leak in and cause the gumbo to have a freezer burn. This will result in the gumbo losing its taste.
For double protection, you can wrap the top of the container with plastic wrap. Then secure the lid onto the container tightly.
Label and Freeze The Gumbo
Once the gumbo is sealed, label the date of freezing on the container. Then place the container into the freezer for storage.
Gumbo with seafood will last for 3 months by using the method above.
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You can freeze gumbo with rice, but it’s recommended to freeze the gumbo and rice separately in different containers. Freezing the rice mixed in with the gumbo will cause them to break apart and become mushy. This will result in a meal that’s soggy, and you may not enjoy eating it.
When freezing gumbo, use the method above to freeze it, but leave the rice out.
Below are the steps to freezing rice:
- Cook the rice first using your preferred method.
- On a tray, lay a sheet of baking paper.
- Spread the rice evenly onto the baking sheet and allow it to cool down.
- Once the rice is cooled, place portions into a freezer bag or an airtight container.
- If using a freezer bag, squeeze out the air before sealing it. For an airtight container, check for leaks in the lid before securing it to the container.
- Label the container or bag with the date of freezing.
- Place the rice into the freezer for storage.
Rice stored in the freezer will last for up to 2 months.
How Long Can You Freeze Gumbo?
Gumbo that contains seafood can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. Gumbo that doesn’t have seafood in it will last for up to 6 months.
After that time, gumbo will still be safe to eat, but it will start to decline in quality. You may not enjoy the taste and the texture of it.
How To Thaw Gumbo?
When it comes to thawing gumbo, there are two methods of doing so.
Thaw Gumbo Using The Fridge
The first method is to remove the frozen gumbo from the freezer and place it into the fridge.
This is the best method to thawing the gumbo as it will allow it to thaw evenly throughout. Also, this will prevent the gumbo from reaching temperatures that may cause bacteria growth.
Once it’s in the fridge, let it sit for about 3-4 hours. Once it’s thawed, you can reheat the gumbo.
Thaw Gumbo Using Water
The second method is for those that don’t have time to wait for the gumbo to thaw in the fridge. Take the frozen gumbo from the freezer and place it into a bowl of lukewarm water.
Let it sit for about 10 minutes and change the water out. After about 30 minutes, the gumbo should be thawed.
Make sure to not let the gumbo sit at room temperature for too long. If it’s been an hour or more, bacteria will start growing on the gumbo which could cause food poisoning.
Once the gumbo has thawed, whether in the fridge or in a bowl of water, you can reheat it. Place the gumbo in a saucepan on the stove. Reheat the gumbo until the temperature reaches around 165 °F or when it’s piping hot.
Can You Refreeze Gumbo?
You can refreeze gumbo only if it has not thawed completely, and it’s stored in the fridge.
Otherwise, if the gumbo has completely thawed, you won’t be able to freeze it again. If you do, the gumbo will lose its flavor, and it won’t be enjoyable.
If plans changed and the gumbo is still frozen, you can simply put them back into the freezer. Make sure to wipe away any moisture that may be on it while it’s in the fridge.
Can you freeze gumbo with crab legs?
Yes, you can freeze gumbo with crab legs. Whether it’s snow crab legs, Dungeness crab, or blue crabs, you should have no problem freezing it with the gumbo. Like most seafood, make sure to not leave it out at room temperature for too long. Bacteria can grow and will cause it to go bad during freezing.
Can you freeze gumbo with eggs?
It’s not recommended to freezing gumbo with eggs. It’s better to take out the eggs and put new ones later. As the egg freeze, the water in the egg white will crystallize. When the egg thaws, you’ll end up with a rubbery and watery egg.