Vegan or not, when you have so much love for coleslaw, you cannot help but relentlessly prepare plenty for sharing, especially if you have all of the ingredients at your disposal. Then at the end of the preparation, you may find yourself realizing that you have overestimated the quantity that makes it more than enough to consume in one go. Then that leads you to another problem on how to store them.
When you have plenty of coleslaw to keep, but you have already run out of storage space in your refrigerator, throwing it away is definitely not a good idea, right? So you might consider storing the rest of the coleslaw in the freezer. But, can you freeze coleslaw?
Yes, you can freeze coleslaw. But, freezing depends on the type of dressing you’re using. You can freeze your coleslaw as long as you did not put mayonnaise in it. Any coleslaw that has mayonnaise will not freeze well.
Why? That is because mayonnaise is a temperature-sensitive ingredient, and it will only separate when frozen. Plus, freezing a mayonnaise-based dressing will get rough and watery, eventually spoiling your coleslaw. Thus, only freeze your coleslaw if it has oil and vinegar-based dressing as they can withstand freezing temperature.
Coleslaw is commonly served as a side dish, but it can also stand as an appetizer for meat-based entrees such as fried marinated pork. It contains a deliciously crunchy mixture of shredded cabbage and carrots covered with salad dressing, either mayonnaise or vinaigrette. Ideally, you should not freeze coleslaw if you are after its best crunch and freshness. However, that does not stop you from freezing it. Freeze it only when you really have to instead of throwing it away.
Again, freezing coleslaw is acceptable. You may prepare a large batch today and freeze it for future consumption. Or freeze it if you have some leftovers.
Vinegar-based coleslaw can hold its freshness the longest and freezes safely since it has vinegar, sugars, and spices that will help preserve the shredded blends of vegetables. It is best to consume your frozen coleslaw within a month to avoid losing its texture and flavor. However, your coleslaw can last longer in the freezer for up to six months.
Freezing your coleslaw without the dressing would be the best option if you want to prepare it in advance. This method can surely help retain the quality of your vegetables after freezing and defrosting. So if you can help it, don’t add the dressing to your vegetables before freezing. Do it on the day you are going to serve your coleslaw.
How to Freeze Coleslaw
Before you put it in the freezer, here are the things you need to do for your coleslaw to retain its optimal texture and flavor:
Step 1: Keep it in a container or freezer bag
For vinegar-based coleslaw, you have to store it in an airtight container to prevent contamination. You may also consider packing your coleslaw in portion sizes so you can take out only what you need.
Step 2: Label the container
Write the label on the container with the date on when you have stored your packed coleslaw in the freezer. This way, you can monitor the coleslaw’s freshness and decide when it is time for you to dispose of it.
When you are planning to use mayonnaise-based dressing, don’t mix it yet with your vegetables. Use the dressing on the day you are going to eat coleslaw. In this case, you’ll only have to freeze the vegetables in a freezer-safe plastic bag or in an aightight container. Moisture should be squeezed out from the container before you freeze it.
Step 3: Freeze it
Put it in its designated freezer space. Coleslaw must be kept at a constant freezing temperature to retain its quality
How to Thaw Coleslaw
Refrigerating it overnight is the best method to thaw your coleslaw. Just transfer frozen coleslaw to the refrigerator. Also, make sure to place it in a food tray before leaving it until it is ready for consumption.
Don’t get impatient about defrosting your coleslaw. You have to give this side dish enough time to thaw at a constant low temperature to minimize the risk of bacterial growth.
Once your coleslaw is thawed, expect that it will become a little watery. So, just drain away any excess liquid and stir it before mixing in your mayonnaise dressing and other fresh ingredients you might want to add.
You must consume your coleslaw within 24 hours, and you should never refreeze-defrosted it! Any thawed coleslaw left must be discarded since you do not want to risk getting food poisoned.
Does Freezing Affect Coleslaw?
Take note that frozen coleslaw will not hold the same freshness and crunchiness as the original batch. At some point, your coleslaw will lose the fresh crunchiness of the vegetables. Its texture will become rougher, and the flavor will become blander. You can improve the taste by adding seasonings.
Freezing temperature naturally alters the vegetables’ texture even if you have done everything to pack them carefully.
What Else Can You Do With Thawed Coleslaw?
Thawed coleslaw can be served as a side dish or filling for many meals such as tacos, jacket potatoes, jerk chicken, fish fingers, and many more.
How to Tell if Thawed Coleslaw is Still Good to Eat?
Discard the coleslaw if there are off-changes in its smell, color, and texture. If it appears too watery, rancid, or if there are molds that have already appeared, then that’s a big red flag that you should not eat it.