Can you freeze stew?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you freeze stew?”, and how to freeze beef stew?

Can you freeze stew?

Yes, you can freeze stew. Read on if you want to know how to safely freeze beef stew.

Does freezing affect beef stew?

No, freezing does not affect the quality characteristics of the beef stew to a noticeable extent if you store it correctly. For making the beef stew, beef is cut into cubes and fried until browned. The browned beef cubes are then cooked in broth or water along with the vegetables.

It is important to leave the veggies slightly undercooked if you intend to freeze your beef stew. In addition to this, you should skip adding the potatoes to the broth intended for freezing. Because potatoes do not hold up in the freezing environment.

They lose their texture and become gritty during freezing. Follow the steps detailed below to safely freeze your beef stew with minimum changes in the quality characteristics.

Simmering stew

The best-tasting stew is always slow-cooked on a low flame. Slow cooking gives more time to the contents of the stew to release their flavor and nutrients into the water. 

During simmering, you may add thicken the sauce by adding a flour slurry, potato flakes, or more veggies. You can slow cook your beef on the stove, in the oven, or a slow cooker, depending on preference. 

A stew cooked with flour or starch tends to separate after freezing. Your best bet is to add the thickeners during reheating. The same goes for the potatoes. If you must add potatoes to the stew, add cooked potatoes during reheating. 

Storing and refrigerating beef stew

Beef stew can be safely refrigerated and reheated as long as you follow the tips given below.

  1. Do not freeze the beef stew while it is piping hot. Let the stew come down to room temperature before you pack it away.
  1. Freezing and reheating often diminish the flavor of the onions while increasing the flavor of bell peppers. In short, you will need to balance the flavor using herbs and spices when reheating the beef stew. 
  1. Thawing the beef stew in the fridge overnight is time-consuming but it is the best and safest available option. When pressed for time, you can opt for other quick-heating methods.

How to freeze beef stew?

Cook the beef stew as per the recipe instructions. After the beef stew has cooled down, divide it into portions. The portions should be made considering how much beef stew you will need to thaw at a time. 

Grab multiple heavy air-tight containers and fill them with the portioned beef stew. Leave a ½-¼ inches headspace in each container. This will give room for the stew to safely expand as it freezes. 

Put a clear label on the container. This will help you identify the stew once it’s frozen and keep track of the shelf-life of the stew. Frozen beef stew will keep good for about 3 months in the freezer. The sooner you use it, the better it tastes. 

Make-ahead slow cooker beef stew recipe

Ingredients 

  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (8 ounces) package mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 potatoes, diced
  • 5 carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup Marsala wine
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 (10.5 ounce) cans organic beef broth
  • 1 (14.5 ounces) can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika, or to taste
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons water (Optional)

Instructions 

  1. Add flour, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, seasoned salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Put the beef inside the bag. Then seal the bag and shake vigorously to thoroughly coat the beef with the seasoned flour.
  1. Grease a large skillet with some olive oil. Then add the beef, mushrooms, and onions to a greased and pre-heated skillet. Stir and cook the ingredients until the beef browns. 
  1. Add this beef mixture to a slow cooker along with potatoes, carrots, celery, garlic, Marsala wine, and Worcestershire sauce. Then pour the beef broth and add onions, onion soup mix, and 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika. Season with some salt and pepper. Cook the stew for 4 to 6 hours on high, or on Low for 10 to 12 hours

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “Can you freeze stew?”, and how to freeze beef stew?

References

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/215565/make-ahead-slow-cooker-beef-stew/
https://www.bettycrocker.com/how-to/tipslibrary/cooking-tips/stew-the-complete-meal

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.