Lentils are a nutritional powerhouse that can be used in several dishes on an everyday basis. They are high in fibre, protein, and many other essential vitamins making them perfect as a huge part of a balanced diet. But, as you’re probably aware, lentils can take a long time to cook, and this may not be feasible on busy midweek workdays. So perhaps you’re left asking, can you freeze lentils?
Yes, you can! Read ahead to find out just how.
Use the table of contents below to navigate through this article to answer some of the most common questions people have when it comes to freezing lentils:
How To Freeze Lentils
Here’s how you can cook and freeze them.
- Cook your lentils as you normally would. This will come down to the variety of lentils you have bought and whether they need soaking overnight or not. Have a read of the packet and follow the instructions. You’ll want to try and cook them perfectly as you can’t reverse overcooking them. Perfect lentils are not too soft but also don’t tend to be too crunchy. It’s worth noting that you can leave the lentils slightly less done if you plan on adding them to soups or curries once unfrozen. This will prevent them from getting mushy when recooked.
- Once they are done, drain and allow to steam for a little to remove excess moisture. Leave them to one side until they are completely cooled. This will eliminate any excess moisture as it can make frozen lentils stick close to each other. You can now go ahead and add the lentils into freezer bags or zip-lock bags that will keep any air out.
- Leave a little bit of space in the bag as lentils expand when frozen. You can also divide them into small portions depending on how much you use in each go. This reduces thawing time and takes away any need to refreeze.
Remember and as always, it is a good idea to label your bag with the date of freezing.
Can You Freeze Lentil Curry?
Refrigerating lentil curry for storage is not recommended. However, you can freeze lentil curry. Wait for the curry to cool completely before you freeze it. If you freeze it while hot, the temperature change can cause it to go rancid quickly.
You can use freezer bags or zip-lock bags for the curry too. Pour in the curry into small plastic bags leaving a little space for the usual expansion. Ensure that there is no air left in the bag. You can label this bag with the date so that you know when you first froze it.
How Long Can You Freeze Lentils?
Lentils will stay fresh in the freezer for as long as six months if they are cooked. However, you will have to store them well and without any moisture or air in the bag. If these conditions are followed, they may even last longer.
Lentil curry will also stay frozen for close to 6 months. However, it is recommended that you consume it sooner if possible.
If your lentil curry contains cream or other fat or dairy products, it is a good idea to consume them even soon – perhaps within just 2 months.
Whether it is just cooked lentils or curry, if they have a foul taste or smell when you unfreeze them, it is best not to consume them.
You Can Freeze Lentils for Around 6 Months
How Do You Defrost Lentils?
It is extremely easy to defrost lentils. The method also depends on the reason for defrosting them. If you don’t need it for an immediate dish, you can place the frozen lentils in the fridge overnight. They will thaw at their own pace and will be ready for use the next morning.
For a quick dish that you need lentils for, you can take them out from the freezer and place them in a bowl of warm water. They will thaw quicker. Following this, you can microwave them in a microwave-safe dish for two to three minutes. You can even microwave them without first thawing them in warm water.
If you have semi-cooked lentils frozen, you can directly add the frozen lentils into a dish such as soup. The residual heat from your soup or curry will thaw and then finishing the cooking of the lentils.
Can You Refreeze Lentils?
Yes, you can refreeze lentils. Refreezing is a good option if you previously had the lentils thaw in the fridge. This prevents bacterial growth. If you had them thaw on the counter, reheat them properly before you refreeze them.
As a general rule, it is a better idea to freeze your lentils in portion-size bags so that you can unfreeze just what to need and use them without refreezing.
Do Lentils Freeze Well?
Yes, lentils do freeze well. However, they expand in the freezer. It’s a good idea to leave a little space of about two inches in the container or bag you are freezing them in. This stands for lentil curry and even canned lentils.
Other Questions about Lentils
Below are a few of the other common questions we have come across when it comes to lentils – some related to freezing and some not. If you’re still sat there with a question or two about lentils then drop a comment at the bottom of this article and we’ll aim to help out as much as possible.
Can You Freeze Sprouted Lentils?
You can! The method is similar. Portion the sprouted lentils into freezer bags, remove as much air as possible as you seal it up and then store in the freezer. When you want to add some to a soup, just grab a portioned-bag and tip it into your soup over a low heat.
Can You Freeze Lentil Soup?
Lentil soup freezes in much the same way as lentil curry. Make sure you use thick-freezer bags to avoid unwanted spillage in the freezer. Pour the soup into the bags, seal them up and then store in the freezer for up to 6 months.