Can you freeze Açaí bowls?
This brief guide will address the query “Can you freeze Açai bowls?”. Also, we’ll explore how you can freeze Açaí bowls, the benefits and drawbacks of freezing açaí bowls, how to thaw them and if açaí bowls can go bad in the freezer.
Can you freeze Açaí bowls?
Yes, it is possible to freeze Açaí bowls, particularly, the smoothie portion of the dish. It’s feasible when preparing batches ahead of time, and storing them at subzero temperatures assures that the smoothie lasts well beyond the suggested 1 or 2 days stored for refrigeration (1).
Frozen Açaí bowl smoothies can be taken out of the fridge, defrosted, and used as needed to prepare the bowls with the unblended ingredients used as toppings.
How can I freeze Açaí bowls?
Freezing Açaí bowls requires that the smoothie portion of the recipe be encased in freeze-resistant jars, or in tight-sealing plastic bags. Açaí must be stored in the freezer at -18 ºC (1,2,8).
Ideally, the smoothie should be packaged into portions before freezing, as thawing out large volumes for a single portion isn’t recommended; smoothies should only be frozen and defrosted once.
If freezing in a container such as a mason jar, there should be at least two and a half centimeters of airspace beneath the lid to keep the smoothie’s expansion from cracking the jar.
If storing it in a plastic freezer bag, it should be filled to ¾ of its capacity and have as much air drawn out to prevent freeze burns.
Defrosting can be carried out by letting it sit overnight in the refrigerator.
Frozen, Açaí bowl smoothies can be preserved for up to three months but may remain safe to consume after, though perhaps not with the same quality (2).
What are the benefits and drawbacks of freezing Açaí bowls?
The first benefit of freezing is that it keeps the açaí and other ingredients fresh and nutrient-dense. The açaí bowl preserves its health advantages, such as anthocyanins which have antioxidant activity, thanks to freezing because it slows down enzyme activity and minimizes nutrient loss (3,4,5).
Açaí bowls may be stored for later consumption and this way less food is wasted thanks to freezing.
Additionally, frozen açaí bowls are practical since they can be made ahead of time and consumed whenever you choose.
However, there are certain disadvantages to take into account. Fruits present in açaí bowls, for instance strawberries, can have their texture changed by freezing such that when they are thawed, they are softer or more liquid (6).
Furthermore, depending on the particular ingredients utilized, freezing might modify the flavor of açaí, especially if you keep them for an extended period.
How to safely thaw frozen Açaí bowls?
To thaw frozen açaí bowls they should first be moved from the freezer to the refrigerator to gently defrost over the course of several hours. The texture and quality of the components are preserved thanks to this slow defrosting (7).
It is not recommended to defrost at room temperature as this might promote the growth of microorganisms and deteriorate the açaí bowl quality (7).
Can you refreeze defrosted açaí bowls?
Yes, but it’s not recommended. Refreezing and thawing açaí changes its texture to gritty or grainy due to the formation of ice crystals during the process. The taste is also affected by refreezing açaí because the freeze-thaw cycle causes moisture loss through ice crystal evaporation leading to a muted flavor profile (10).
Never refreeze açaí bowls that have been thawed or left out of the fridge for extended time, especially at 4 ºC. Açaí is very perishable and bacteria can grow faster at these conditions leading it to spoilage and increasing the risk of foodborne illnesses (11).
Can Açaí bowl go bad in the freezer?
Unfortunately, yes. Açaí is a perishable fruit and has a short shelf life. Although freezing can prolong its shelf life by slowing down enzymatic activity it does not stop it. However, according to study, techniques like pasteurization or boiling before freezing açaí bowls can extend their shelf life for up to 3 months (2).
If you are consuming industrialized açaí they are usually pasteurized, so you can check the expiration date and store in the freezer for 3 months too (9).
This brief guide addressed the query “Can you freeze Açai bowls?” Also, we’ve explored how you can freeze Açaí bowls, the benefits and drawbacks of freezing açaí bowls, how to thaw them and if açaí bowls can go bad in the freezer.
1. Bezerra, V.S. Açaí Congelado. Embrapa, 2007.
2. Da Costa, M.A. Suco de açaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart.): avaliação microbiológica, tratamento térmico e vida de prateleira. Acta Amazonica, 2006, 33.
3. Moon, K.M, et al. Recent Trends in Controlling the Enzymatic Browning of Fruit and Vegetable Products. Molecules. 2020;25(12):2754.
4. Li, L. et al. Selected nutrient analyses of fresh, fresh-stored, and frozen fruits and vegetables. J Food Composition and Analysis, 2017, 59, 8-17.
5. Sablani, S.S. Chapter 18 – Freezing of Fruits and Impact on Anthocyanins. Proc and Impact on Active Comp in Food, 2015, 147-156.
6. Van Der Sman, R.G.M. Impact of Processing Factors on Quality of Frozen Vegetables and Fruits. Food Engineering Reviews, 2020, 12, 399–420.
7. The Big Thaw – Safe Defrosting Methods. USDA, 2013
8. Silva, C.L.M. Home Freezing of Fruits and Vegetables. In book: Frozen food science and technology, 2008.
9. Costa, H.C.B., et al. An experimental and numerical evaluation of continuous pasteurization of açai pulp with plate heat exchangers on the inactivation of peroxidase and polyphenol oxidase. J Food Engineering, 314, 2022.
10. Schmidt, S.J., Lee, J.W. How Does the Freezer Burn Our Food?. J Food Science Education, 2009, 8.
11. What is the “2 Hour Rule” with leaving food out?. USDA, 2023.