So you’ve made a soup and don’t feel like eating your greens. You don’t want to let them go to waste, and you’re probably wondering whether you can freeze cooked vegetables.
The answer is yes, cooked greens can be frozen. You’ll prolong their fridge life considerably and be able to use them for soups, stews, porridges, or salads without compromising their taste or chewiness if you follow my simple guide.
Without further ado, let’s see
What Happens if You Freeze Cooked Vegetables?
By cooking your veggies, you allow their flavor and chewiness to flourish; by freezing them, you extend their fridge life by several months. When you freeze vegetables, you prevent unhealthy bacteria from eating the good stuff – nutrients, proteins, minerals, and such.
It’s always a good idea to freeze vegetables that you can’t eat in a couple of days. This is especially true for cooked veggies, as they’re much healthier to begin with.
Benefits of Freezing Cooked Vegetables
- Frozen cooked greens retain their texture and flavor
- You can use your frozen greens in the same way as raw veggies after thawing them
- Remarkably simple freezing and thawing processes
- They usually don’t require too much freezer space
- Prolong fridge life of your cooked greens by six to twelve months (depending on the type)
Drawbacks of Freezing Cooked Vegetables
- Not all veggies freeze too well
- Mashed and greens with mushy texture freeze quite poorly
- Weaker greens lose some of their chewiness after an extended period of being frozen
Is it Better to Freeze Fresh or Cooked Vegetables?
Veggies are rich in various types of nutrients, and by cooking them, you’re increasing the bioavailability of iron, carbs, proteins, healthy fats, and vitamins. While freezing fresh veggies is undoubtedly an option, it’s always better to freeze them after cooking them.
Which Vegetables Freeze Well After Cooking?
|Can you freeze cooked mixed vegetables?||Yes, but pay attention to the least ‘durable’ vegetable in the mix. It dictates the upper limit of recommended freezing time.|
|Can you freeze cooked mashed vegetables?||Mashed vegetables don’t freeze as great as plain greens, but they can still be frozen. Expect their texture to be altered.|
|Can you freeze cooked cauliflower?||Yes, up to eight months.|
|Can you freeze cooked cabbage?||Yes, up to nine months.|
|Can you freeze cooked root vegetables?||Yes, up to nine months. But it also depends. Turnips can be frozen for 6 months for instance.|
|Can you freeze cooked carrots?||Yes, up to twelve months.|
|Can you freeze cooked beet greens?||Yes, up to twelve months.|
|Can you freeze cooked leafy greens?||Yes, between eight and twelve months.|
|Can you freeze roasted vegetables?||Yes, roasted veggies can also be frozen. We have compiled detailed instructions for freezing roasted vegetables here.|
|Can you freeze steamed vegetables?||Yes, most steamed greens can be frozen for roughly nine months. For detailed information on freezing steamed vegetables, check out this guide.|
How to Freeze Cooked Vegetables
Before you get to freezing, cool your cooked veggies first. Pick a suitable freezer-friendly container for your soon-to-be-frozen greens, and slap a sticker with the current date on it. That’s the gist of it, so for more detailed instructions, follow these steps:
Step 1: Let Your Greens Cool Down
I do not recommend placing your veggies in the freezer when you take them out of the cooking pan. They need to cool down before they can freeze adequately. If you’ve just cooked a batch and want to freeze it as quickly as possible, place your greens under cold water and dry them.
Step 2: Pick the Freezing Containers
Freezing bags usually do the trick, but for pointy greens (such as carrots or beet veggies), consider using airtight containers. If some of your cooked vegetables have a mushy texture, you can also use Mason jars.
If you want to learn more about how to freeze beets check this guide.
Step 3: Label Each Package
It’s much simpler to maintain the contents of your freezer if you know what package contains what and when it was placed inside. Label your containers with the vegetable type/types and date before putting them in the freezer.
Step 4: Place Cooked Vegetables in Your Freezer
Since most vegetable types freeze pretty great, it usually doesn’t matter where you place them. If, however, you’re using an old, beat-up model, you may want to place them further back where the fans are blowing cool air the strongest.
How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Vegetables?
Most vegetables have different freezing longevity. Generally speaking, you can freeze cooked veggies between six and twelve months. Consult the list above for more details.
How To Defrost Cooked Vegetables?
I usually defrost my cooked greens in the fridge, but you can also thaw them with a microwave or by placing them in a bowl with cold water. There are ups and downs to each method, so let’s take a closer look:
Thawing in the Fridge
Take out the packages from the freezer and place them on the bottom shelf of your freezer. As your cooked greens thaw, water will drip beneath them, so it would be wise to place an empty bowl under them.
Thawing in the Microwave
Your microwave’s ‘Defrost’ function uses considerably less power than usual to prevent frozen meals from overcooking. However, there’s still a chance that can happen, and that’s the main drawback of this approach.
The upside of microwave thawing is that it’s much faster than thawing cooked veggies under tap water or in a fridge. In most situations, the process should take around half an hour.
Can You Refreeze Cooked Vegetables?
Yes, frozen and then thawed cooked vegetables can be refrozen. Repeat the freezing and thawing steps as closely as possible, and ensure that the veggies are not left out of the fridge for longer than 2 hours.
Best tips for Freezing Cooked Vegetables
- Always let your veggies cool after cooking and before placing them in the freezer
- Use sturdier containers for vegetables with pointy ends
- Freezer wraps are ideal for most kinds of cooked vegetables
- As a general rule, don’t keep your cooked greens frozen over twelve months
Best Ways to Use Cooked Vegetables
You can make a salad, throw your greens in a soup, or enrich a traditional goulash. Stews, porridges, and all ‘spoon’ meals taste better with veggies floating about. If you don’t know what to do with your thawed cooked veggies, let me recommend:
- Cook a soup – boil a liter of water, add spices, and throw your cooked veggies in the pot. Easy, healthy, and remarkably tasty.
- Make a traditional Bulgarian goulash – essentially, this is a stew with as many different kinds of meat you can find. Use cooked veggies liberally. You can’t make a mistake; whichever ingredients you add, it will have a superb taste.
- Fix a salad – with a bit of feta and olive oil, you can make a perfect side dish as an appetizer
- Veggie Spread – a green sandwich. I recommend using soft milk cheese as a dressing and freshly squeezed orange juice for a perfect breakfast.
This might also be interesting for you: Freezing olives.
Freezing cooked veggies is both easy and smart. You’ll capture their nutritional elements and prolong the time they can be stored and used this way. Keep in mind that freezing steamed veggies is a different process, and the same can be said for freezing raw vegetables.
Did you find thawing asparagus a bit harder than defrosting carrots? I want to hear all about your experiences with freezing cooked greens, so leave a comment below. You’re welcome to check all my other content if you’ve found this guide helpful!