Gumbo, a powerfully rich and flavoursome dish, is impossible to say no to a second bowl. You may be tempted to freeze a large portion of gumbo well in advance before thawing and eating it over time. But, is this possible?
Can You Freeze Gumbo?
Yes, you can freeze gumbo for up to 3 months. Decant gumbo into portion-sized containers with around an inch of headspace at the top of each. Then, seal the containers individually, double-check the seal, and transfer the containers to the centre of your freezer.
Does Gumbo Freeze Well? Yes
Can You Refreeze Gumbo? No
How to Freeze Gumbo
The best first step to freezing gumbo is ensuring it’s piping hot. This is a little counterintuitive since we’ll have to wait for it to cool before we put it into the freezer, but it can help ensure that it’s as fresh as possible, which will be ideal for the texture and flavour of the gumbo itself.
Once you’ve got it cooked and piping hot, you can get to freezing it:
- Prepare Containers: Gather as many portion-sized containers as you have to hand for freezing gumbo, and then fill each container until they’re roughly four-fifths of the way full. We recommend doing things that way is because it will allow for the gumbo to expand slightly.
- Cool: With the gumbo in the containers, make sure to allow them to return to room temperature over time. The way to do this is simply to allow the lid to remain off the containers and allow the gumbo to cool slowly. This can take a few hours.
- Seal: Once the gumbo is cooled to room temperature, add the lids to the containers. Check that they are completely sealed all the way around the edge.
- Label and Freeze: Write a clear label on each container and then transfer the containers into the freezer. Place the containers toward the centre of your freezer, where they will freeze well.
Yes, seafood gumbo can be frozen for as long as the most delicate ingredient. If you have used prawns, for example, then these are more likely to succumb to freezer burn.
Yes, crab gumbo can be frozen for between 2 and 3 months. Crab is seafood that freezes pretty well, but it can lose its texture if frozen for too long, so limit it to 3 months.
3 Tips for Freezing Gumbo
Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing gumbo to have the best results:
A Chain is as Strong as its Weakest Link
By this, we mean that you can only freeze something for as long as the weakest ingredient can be frozen. In gumbo, this is likely to be prawns or, perhaps, chicken. With that in mind, you really shouldn’t store gumbo in the freezer for longer than three months, as the texture and flavour of those ingredients will be ruined.
Ensure a Tight Seal
Like any liquid-based thing in your freezer, gumbo is liable to spill under temperature fluctuations. Therefore, we recommend ensuring that the containers are sealed, as that will prevent spillages from occurring in your freezer.
Be Wary of Strong Herbs and Spices
Pungent herbs and spices are part and parcel of a great gumbo. The first one that springs to mind is tabasco, which adds a powerful punch to any dish. In your freezer, that aroma can be negative, as it can add to the smells that a freezer has.
How Long Can You Freeze Gumbo?
You can freeze gumbo for a maximum of three months.
This is a great timeframe to remember for most dishes since it’s the time frame over which food will remain safe in the freezer, and will not lose texture and flavour, either.
Leftover gumbo can be kept in the fridge for between 2 and 3 days when stored in a covered dish or airtight container. It needs to be fully cool before it is placed into the fridge.
How Do You Defrost Gumbo?
The easiest way to defrost the gumbo is to add it to the microwave, after removing the lid of the container that it was frozen in, and heating it on full power in thirty-second intervals until the gumbo is steaming all the way through.
That will ensure that it’s as safe as possible to eat.
You can also defrost it slowly overnight in the fridge. Once thawed, it can then be reheated in a pan over a low heat.
Can You Refreeze Gumbo?
While you technically can refreeze gumbo, we would definitely advise against it.
It depends upon the recipe you use, of course, but some gumbo recipes contain different types of food and seafood, which cannot be thawed and refrozen for food safety reasons.
Does Gumbo Freeze Well?
Yes, gumbo does freeze well – the reason for this is the same as the reason any stew-style dish freezes well.
Freezer burn sets into the liquid first, where it has no effect, preventing freezer burn from setting into the solid components.
If you’ve still got questions about freezing gumbo or gumbo in general, then these may help:
Most store-bought gumbos can be frozen, but it’s a good idea to look at the packaging as some will state that they are not suitable for home freezing.
Gumbo can be reheated in the microwave, where it should be microwaved using 30-second bursts until it is piping hot. It can also be reheated in a pan over a low heat.
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