Kidney beans are named for their kidney shape, and are often used in soup and chili for their hearty, meaty texture. Freezing kidney beans is an easy way to preserve cooked beans for long periods of time. Freezing beans when they are slightly undercooked will help maintain the texture of the beans, but because kidney beans contain small amounts of toxins when they are undercooked, you’ll want to fully cook your beans before serving. Kidney beans can be frozen for up to a year while still maintaining their flavor and texture.
Things You'll Need
- Large pot
- Dried or canned kidney beans
- Freezer-safe zip-top bags
- Permanent marker
- Freezer or deep freeze
Cover dried beans with water and soak overnight in a large pot. The next morning, drain the soaking water and cover beans with fresh water. Simmer the soaked beans over medium heat until they are still slightly firm (about the texture of al dente pasta), then drain and rinse the beans. Most kidney beans cook in about two hours. Canned beans are pre-cooked, and can be frozen right from the can once they are drained and rinsed.
Scoop your kidney beans into freezer-safe zip-top bags. Put about one cup of beans in each bag for easy portioning later on. Press any air out of the bag, and seal the top. Mark the date on the front of each bag with a permanent marker.
Smooth the beans into a flat layer across the bag for easy storage in the freezer. Stack bags on top of each other in your freezer or deep freeze. Leave the beans in the freezer until you want to use them.
Remove the beans from the freezer and allow them to thaw in the sink or on the kitchen counter. Add thawed beans to soup or chili and allow them to finish cooking with the rest of the ingredients, or finish cooking the beans individually. Beans can be baked with sauce and spices or simmered on the stove top. Cooked beans should be soft, and the inside should be slightly mushy.