There’s nothing quite like a warm bowl of beef stew on a chilly day! But what do you do when the weather doesn’t cooperate and you have some leftovers?
Can you freeze beef stew?
The good news is that you can freeze beef stew to enjoy later in the year or whenever you want without having to worry about it going bad.
All you need to do is to store it in the freezer properly.
What is the best way to store beef stew in the freezer?
Now that you know that freezing leftover beef stew is safe and doable, you might be wondering how to freeze it.
Here are instructions for how to freeze beef stew so that you’ll be ready next time this delicious dish is on the menu!
Freezing instructions for leftover beef stew:
- First, let it cool in the refrigerator after you finish eating. This will help prevent any food-borne illness from bacteria already in the meat or veggies that could grow while in storage if left out on the counter.
- Layout a clean piece of plastic wrap so that it doesn’t touch your other food in the freezer.
- Dump the cooled stew onto the plastic wrap and form into a log shape, rolling up the wrap to create one solid piece that will be easy to remove later. Wrap it well with another layer of plastic wrap and then place it back in your freezer in an even manner so as not to let any air pockets occur.
- Label your wrapped beef stew well with the type of meat, its contents, and the best by or freeze by date.
- Check it periodically throughout the freezing process to make sure that no ice crystals have formed from moisture in the air. If they have, simply wipe them away with a knife and allow them to be resealed properly.
It’s best to freeze beef stew in a dark, cool area of your home freezer as light and high temperatures can both affect its quality.
If you have room, placing it on a shelf will best help control how fast your food freezes.
Freezing methods that require removing the air from the packaging are best for freshness since they prevent freezer burn which can spoil food.
Vacuum sealers are best to use for this and even produce bags with the perfect air removal method.
How long can I keep frozen beef stew?
I’ll be honest, with the best vacuum sealing packaging and storage method of freezing in a cool area, you can freeze beef stew for up to 5 months!
If you forget about your frozen food storage or are not sure how long it has been there, here are the steps you should take:
1. Check the expiration date on your beef stew package and compare it against any labels that you can find to ensure accuracy.
If it has been longer than what is allowed in your area, simply throw it out so that you don’t take a chance on health issues such as food poisoning.
2. If you still have questions about how long you can keep frozen beef stew, feel free to do more research online or contact your local health inspector for advice.
I hope that these ideas and tips will help you stay safe while still enjoying the taste of beef stew whenever it’s convenient for you.
When should I defrost my frozen beef stew?
Okay, so now that we know how to freeze beef stew and how long it’s good for, in storage, you’re probably wondering the best way to defrost it.
Here are just a few tips:
You can leave it in the refrigerator overnight to defrost naturally.
Pull out your frozen beef stew package and place it into a container or bowl that is larger than what the packaging was.
Fill with warm water and carefully move around until the contents are softened enough to be easily eaten without much chewing required.
Defrosting times will vary depending on the size and weight of your beef stew package.
You can always defrost it in the microwave for a quick fix.
Remove packaging, place into your microwavable container, and cover with a wet paper towel. Cook at a low setting until warm enough to enjoy.
Remember, do not leave any food unattended while cooking or reheating in the microwave.
If your leftovers have been frozen for more than a year, it may be wise to discard them so that you avoid any food-borne illness that could come from old food items.
When in doubt, check the expiration date on the packaging or contact your local health inspector for advice.
Is there a difference between freezing and refrigerating beef stew?
I think the answer to that question is pretty obvious if you’ve made it this far in my article.
Freezing beef stew extends its life while refrigerating just slows down the process of deterioration so that you can eat it within a certain amount of time.
But what if you’re not sure if your meat has spoiled or if it will still be good if you freeze it?
How do I know if the beef stew is bad?
As with any meat, if there are signs of spoilage such as bad smells, green or moldy spots and if the contents have liquids that have separated out from them then simply discard immediately.
Can I freeze beef stew in a plastic container?
This one really depends on if the plastic used to make the container can handle being frozen without breaking and if it could be possible for chemicals to leech into the food if it does break.
If either of these is a concern, you should simply leave your beef stew in its original packaging and place it directly into your freezer for safekeeping.
How long can I keep frozen beef stew if it’s in a plastic container?
Freezing your food properly is going to be the best way to give it the longest possible shelf life.
That being said, if you must use a freezer bag or other sort of plastic container when freezing your beef stew, it will still last several months if properly sealed.
It will last for up to 2-3 months if it’s a roll of plastic wrap or if you have a vacuum bag sealer.
If in doubt, store your beef stew in the refrigerator if it is already frozen. This will slow down deterioration and keep it perfectly good for short periods of time if need be.
Can you freeze beef stew with potatoes in it?
Yes, you can freeze beef stew with potatoes in it.
You want to make sure that the potatoes are chopped or have been mashed before freezing so they thaw with the dish.
The best way to do this is before freezing, place the stew into a container and carefully mash it down until there are no lumps in it. Repeat until all of the beef stew has been stirred up.
Can you freeze beef stew and dumplings?
Dumplings are an important part of a stew so freezing them is always going to be the best way to go.
You can steam or boil your dumplings before freezing for about 30 minutes and then place them in plastic bags for freezing.
If you’re freezing your stew in a bowl, make sure that they’re spread out evenly amongst the meat and other ingredients so that the freezing process doesn’t make them too mushy.
If freezing your stew in a can or jar, it’s best to place your dumplings directly into the container with everything else since they will not freeze as well if left out on their own.
I wouldn’t recommend freezing any stew with bread because it will get soggy and hard during freezing.
In conclusion, yes you can freeze beef stew. Just allow it to cool down first and then put the pot in a large container with an airtight lid.
You can also divide up the beef stew into individual portions using freezer bags or containers before freezing them for later use.
This way you’ll have enough frozen food on hand when you’re ready to make your next meal.
I hope this helps.