Can You Freeze Jambalaya?

by Charlie

One of the main reasons many people like Jambalaya is because they can find the ingredients almost anywhere. Jambalaya contains mainly meat, and vegetables mixed with rice. You can have shrimp, crawfish, andouille, pork, chicken, sausage, tomatoes, and onions.

Jambalaya takes a long while to prepare, and this might be a problem for people that do not have much time on their hands to spare. Jambalaya has a delicious and spicy taste that you wouldn’t want out of your menu. So, can you prepare Jambalaya ahead and preserve it?

Can you freeze jambalaya? Yes, you can. Jambalaya lasts for about a month or two in the freezer. Most people will tell you not to freeze jambalaya because it contains rice and rice gets mushy upon thawing. But, there are ways you could go about it and get your Jambalaya to freeze well. Jambalaya does contain some freezer-friendly ingredients.

Whether you want to freeze Cajun or Creole Jambalaya, it would freeze well but the texture of your rice would become mushy upon thawing, and if you have shrimp in there, it becomes flabby. 

The difference between Creole and Cajun is that Creole contains tomatoes, which gives the Jambalaya a reddish tint. While the Cajun doesn’t contain tomatoes. The Cajun Jambalaya is much drier than the Creole.

How to Freeze Jambalaya

It is well known that freezing rice is a disaster. But, Jambalaya has a small proportion of rice in it. It also contains ingredients that have acidic properties and this helps it to freeze very well. Still, freezing Jambalaya is beyond just storing it properly, certain measures can be taken to ensure that your jambalaya freezes well and properly in the freezer.

Step 1: Prevent The Rice and Shrimp From Going Mushy

You need to know that your Jambalaya wouldn’t taste as good as it was before you froze it. So you should expect a little bit of letdown in the tasting department. 

Since rice is one of the main ingredients in your Jambalaya, there are a few things you could do to keep them from going mushy and ruining your Jambalaya.

  • The first thing you could do is to not add rice at all to your jambalaya before you freeze it. When you want to eat it, let your frozen jambalaya come to a boil in the pot and add your parboiled rice. That way, it can not get mushy.
  • If your freezing was not premeditated, this wouldn’t help much as you already have the rice in the Jambalaya. The best thing you can do at this point is to use a vacuum sealer to seal the Jambalaya so that moisture cannot escape from the rice. This would keep the rice from getting too soft upon thawing.
  • Another way to prevent your rice from going mushy in the Jambalaya is to cook the rice halfway through before adding it into the mix. This way the rice is still a little bit hard before you freeze and by the time you thaw and reheat, the rice would have been fully cooked.

There isn’t much you can do to keep the texture of your shrimp normal. You can prepare the Jambalaya without shrimp. If you can’t do without the shrimp, the flabby texture doesn’t affect the taste. So, you can carry on.

Step 2: Follow the Recipe

Once you have solved the issue of your rice going mushy and your shrimp becoming flabby, cook the jambalaya as your recipe directs you to. Then, let it cool down to room temperature before you start packing it into storage bags. 

Storing your Jambalaya while it is still warm could cause condensation which would mean more moisture in your jambalaya.

Step 3: Storage

It is very important to keep your Jambalaya away from air as your freeze to help reduce the chances of freezer burn. Divide the Jambalaya into portions of two cups each and pack them into Ziploc freezer bags. 

Flatten the jambalaya and press the bags flat to expel air. Double the bags for extra protection from the cold air in the freezer.

Step 4: Freezing

Before you place the freezer bags into the freezer, it is important to label the bags with their content and the date of the freeze. This could help you organize your food calendar or meal plan and help you not to lose track of what you have in the freezer and the length of time you have had them stored.

How to Reheat Frozen Jambalaya

Frozen Jambalaya can be reheated in the microwave, oven, or stovetop. Depends on your choice or preference.

Before reheating in the oven, you can decide to thaw your Jambalaya in the refrigerator. This method is the lengthiest of the three. If you thaw it first, you reduce the time you have to spend reheating it. Preheat your oven to 300°F, then place your Jambalaya in an open safe dish, cover it with aluminum foil, and heat for 20 to 30 minutes.

On the stovetop, you can put your frozen jambalaya into a pot of boiling water and watch it thaw. This is fast and very effective, and you don’t need to get the Jambalaya out of the bags you have had them stored in.

In the microwave, things aren’t so hard either. Let your Jambalaya spend a whole day in the refrigerator thawing before you put it into a microwave-safe container. 

Cover the container with a paper towel and place the Jambalaya together with a glass of water into the microwave to help prevent moisture loss, and microwave the Jambalaya at an interval of 30 seconds and keep stirring it at each interval till it gets hot.

How to Recognize Spoiled Jambalaya

It is easy to recognize spoiled Jambalaya. Eating spoiled Jambalaya can give you food poisoning. Spoiled Jambalaya would have a rancid smell and odd appearance. If you notice this, don’t eat it, please throw it out.

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