When it comes to Chinese food, there’s a lot of diversity. The Chinese cuisine offers something for everyone – from fried rice to orange chicken, there’s just so much to choose from.
There are several Chinese eateries that you can eat at and also order takeouts. Because you want to try new flavors, it’s possible that you’ve ordered a wide variety of Chinese food all at once and you’re having trouble finishing it.
The refrigerator is a good place to store leftover Chinese food for a few days. Leftovers will remain safe in the fridge for about 3-4 days. However, you may want to preserve your leftovers for a longer time. So what do you do?
Can you freeze Chinese food? Yes, you can freeze leftover Chinese food. Chinese food will keep safely in the freezer for up to 3 months. Leftover Chinese food should be packed in a sealable freezer-safe bag or airtight container before being placed in the freezer. Proper packaging will keep the food protected from cold freezer air.
Knowing that both leftover and fresh Chinese food can be safely kept preserved in the freezer, you may decide to intentionally purchase a large order of Chinese food for preservation till a later date. When freezing Chinese food, it is important that you do the freezing quickly so that the food isn’t exposed to room temperature for long.
Chinese food can’t be left out at room temperature beyond 2 hours. This is because bacteria growth increases at room temperature and spoils the food. Make sure you throw out any leftover Chinese food that has been sitting out overnight.
Freezing Leftover Chinese Food
In addition to buying Chinese food from eateries, you can also cook your own Chinese food at home – there are many simple enough recipes. Anyone planning to freeze a large batch of Chinese food should just make that batch at home. This is because Chinese food made at home is safer to freeze than takeouts.
Having some fresh Chinese food or leftovers preserved in the freezer will help to satisfy your cravings at some point. If you want great results, it is important that you follow the correct steps when freezing the Chinese food. When time comes to thaw and reheat the frozen Chinese food, you’ll also need to use the correct methods.
So that you won’t mess up your frozen Chinese leftovers, I’ve put all the information you need in this guide.
How to Freeze Leftover Chinese Food
If done correctly, you’ll be able to preserve the original taste of your leftover Chinese food through freezing. Here are the steps you should follow:
Step 1: Allow Chinese Food to Cool
Whether you’ve cooked a fresh batch of Chinese food or you have some leftovers, you’ll need to let the food cool down before freezing it. Freezing your Chinese food while it’s still hot will cause alterations in the original taste, consistency, and texture. The hot food will also raise the freezer’s temperature.
As you wait for the food to cool down to room temperature, you’ll need to also watch the time; your Chinese food must not be exposed to room temperature beyond 2 hours before it goes in the freezer. Immediately the food cools down, start packaging it for long-term preservation in the freezer.
Step 2: Pack the Leftover Chinese Food
Now that the Chinese food has cooled down, you’ll have to pack it correctly for the freezer. There are a few effective options available for packing Chinese food before it goes into the freezer. These options include:
- Packing in an Airtight Container – The first available option for storing Chinese food in the freezer is an airtight container. Since airtight contains are perfectly reusable, it makes sense to go for them. In addition, airtight containers can be sealed off tightly to shield your food from cold freezer air and potential freezer burn. Now, depending on your preference, your Chinese food can either be stored in a single airtight container, or split into smaller portions in multiple airtight containers.
- Plastic Freezer-Safe Bag – one advantage the sealable freezer-safe bag has over the airtight container is that it doesn’t take up as much space in the freezer. Multiple freezer-safe bags can be stacked on top of each other to conserve as much space as possible in the freezer. Additionally, you can also use a marker to label the bag with important details like date and food name.
- Aluminum Food Containers – Unlike airtight containers that can be reused, aluminum food containers can only be used one to freeze your Chinese food. The advantage aluminum food containers have over the other available options is that the food frozen in them can also be defrosted and reheated inside them.
Step 3: Store Packed Chinese Food in Freezer
After packing the Chinese food in one of the previously mentioned containers, label it with the present date and keep safely in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to Thaw and Reheat Frozen Chinese Food
Before reheating frozen Chinese food, you’ll need to thaw it first. One of the most popular ways to thaw frozen food is to leave it in the fridge for several hours. You can also thaw frozen Chinese food with this method.
Leave your frozen Chinese food inside the fridge to thaw overnight. Thawing in the fridge is preferable because it doesn’t subject the Chinese food to conditions that will facilitate the rapid growth of bacteria, which eventually spoils the food.
Alternatively, frozen Chinese food can be thawed in the microwave or left to sit out at room temperature. However, both of these methods risk getting the food spoiled or undesirably altered.
Reheating Chinese Food
Frozen Chinese food can be reheating in a pan over a stove or in the microwave. After thawing the Chinese food, preheat the pan and pour sufficient cooking oil in it. Once the pan and the oil content start heating up, add the Chinese food and reheat at a medium-high temperature; make sure you stir the food as it heats in the pan.
Chinese food should be reheated in the oven at 60-second intervals. Because the microwave heats food rapidly, you must be careful not to leave your Chinese food inside it for too long.