Chili is an excellent ingredient in spice powders, sauces, relishes, and several recipes. Chili can be used in its raw form or in a processed form. Based on your personal preferences and the recipe you’re making use of, you may either purchase raw or processed chili.
There are many interesting health benefits of chili pepper like lowered risk of cancer, combating inflammation, improved metabolism, relief from joint pains, and lots more.
Because chili has so many uses, it is popularly known as “the queen of spices”. Considering how versatile it is, you may want to stock up on some chili. Having a large batch of chili at home means that you have access to the excellent spice whenever there’s need for it.
Also, if you’re in a situation where you have leftover chili from cooking, you’ll need to find an effective way to preserve the leftover.
So, can you freeze chili? Yes, you can freeze chili. Although it is believed that your leftover chili will taste even better the next day, you should know that it won’t keep forever. To safely preserve it for the longest possible time, your best option is to freeze. Freezing preserves the taste of chili well over a long period of time.
If you’ve processed your chili peppers along with other ingredients into a vegetarian on meat chili sauce, you can still freeze it well regardless. However, you should know that vegetable constituents of chili will most likely undergo texture change after being frozen and reheated. This change doesn’t significantly influence the overall quality of your chili, and you’ll still enjoy a nice meal once the chili is done being frozen and reheated for consumption.
When you want to freeze chili, there are some things that you must do; doing these things will ensure that the chili’s best qualities are preserved. Cooked chili will usually last in the refrigerator for about 3 days. If that preservation time is sufficient for you, you can go ahead to freeze your cooked chili once it has cooled down.
However, if you’re hoping to keep the chili preserved for much longer, you’ll have to freeze it. Freezing can preserve chili for up to 6 months.
Chili can be frozen in different items like glass bottle, resealable freezer-safe bag, or a plastic container. Whichever item you choose to hold your cooked chili, make sure that it is well sanitized and sealed with as little air as possible.
How to Freeze Chili
To keep your chili safely frozen for the longest possible time, here are some easy steps to follow:
Step 1: Let the Chili Cool Down to Room Temperature
It is never a good idea to put hot food in the freezer. Putting hot food directly in the freezer causes the freezer’s temperature to rise and consequently destroy the quality of the food being frozen. Also, the heat from the food can thaw other frozen items in the freezer.
Make sure that the chili cools down to room temperature before you place it in the freezer. However, you shouldn’t leave the chili out for too long. Chili will start going bad after 24 hours of exposure to room temperature.
Step 2: Transfer into Strong Long-Lasting Freezer-Safe Bags
After the chili has cooled down, start transferring it into a resealable freezer-safe bag. You can also put the chili in a glass jar or a plastic container. However, you should clean the containers to reduce presence of bacteria.
The freezer-safe bag you choose should also be heavy-duty; this is to ensure that it can safely hold the liquid-form chili. A freezer-safe bag with good quality will hold the chili without any leaks for up to 3 months of freezing.
To avoid refreezing and stressful defrosting, it is best to separate the chili into smaller bits in different freezer-safe bags – this way you’ll have smaller portions of chili that are easier to defrost and finish at once.
Step 3: Freeze the Chili Flat and Label
After filling all the freezer-safe bags with chili, you’ll need to make sure that they’re frozen flat. Flat freezing the chili helps to conserve space in the freezer, and it also gives room to stack up many bags of chili.
To freeze the packed chili flat, take the freezer-safe bags and place them on their sides in a baking sheet. Once the bags of chili are spread flat on the baking sheet, put them in the freezer for about 2 hours to freeze properly. Once the chili is solidly frozen in the bags, transfer it from the baking sheet into a secure freezer compartment.
How to Defrost Frozen Chili
There are a couple of effective methods that can be used to defrost your frozen chili whenever you’re ready to eat it. Frozen chili can be left to thaw in a fridge. It can also be thawed in the microwave oven or a bowl of cold water. Here are quick tips on how to defrost frozen chili with the mentioned methods:
- Defrosting Chili in Water – to defrost your frozen chili in water, put the freezer-safe bags of chili inside a sink filled with water at room temperature. After few minutes check the chili to see how much it has defrosted. Turn the freezer bags on their sides from time to time until the chili is completely defrosted.
- Defrosting Chili in the Refrigerator – You can leave frozen chili to defrost in the fridge overnight. This method actually takes several hours, which is why you’re best advised to do it overnight. Place the bags of chili in a plate to collect water dripping off the bags as the chili thaws in the fridge. You can then go ahead to reheat the thawed chili in the microwave oven later on.
- Defrosting Chili in the Microwave – If you don’t have time to wait for the fridge method, you can use the microwave as a faster option. Put the individual bags of chili in a big bowl and put it in the microwave. Set the microwave to high and heat the chili for up to 5 minutes.