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Quinoa is very versatile and easy to prepare. It has a nutty flavor and a chewy, fluffy texture. If you need to make a large batch of quinoa for future use, you may be wondering if you can store the quinoa in the freezer after it is cooked.
Or maybe you’ve bought a bulk bag of quinoa and want to keep it as fresh as possible until you are ready to cook it.
You can keep cooked quinoa in the freezer for 8-10 months, but after 2-3 months it may begin to lose it’s texture and taste. You can freeze uncooked quinoa for 12-24 months after it’s manufactured.
The first and foremost thing to do with your quinoa to preserve its freshness is to keep it away from the air.
When freezing your quinoa you will want to rinse it first and then cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Remember to use a large pot if you plan to cook a large quantity.
The quinoa usually triples in size as it’s cooking.
After it is cooked, let the quinoa cool down for about 10-20 minutes. To cool it down faster you could place it in a large bowl and put it in the refrigerator for a bit.
Make sure to divide up the quinoa into serving sizes you can use later.
Place the quinoa in an airtight container. A ziploc baggie would also work for storage. Just place the serving size you need into the baggie, flatten it, press the air out, write the date and measurement of quinoa on the bag and place it in the freezer.
A lot of recipes call for 2 cups of quinoa, so placing this amount in the ziploc bag or airtight container will help with quick cooking later on. You could also freeze several 3 cup portions of quinoa, if your favorite recipe calls for this amount.
Do not leave quinoa out for more than 2 hours after cooking. Bacteria will start forming and could make you sick when you decide to eat the quinoa later.
You can also freeze uncooked quinoa for 12-24 months from it’s manufactured date. It will definitely prolong the shelf life.
Check the “best by date” if there is not a manufactured date on the package. Keep in mind the package of quinoa may have sat on the shelf for an extended period of time before you bought it.
Keep the quinoa in its original unopened container.
If the uncooked quinoa is not in its original container it is critical to keep all oxygen away from it by placing it in a plastic airtight container, or a resealable bag, to keep it from becoming freezer burned.
If the quinoa is in the freezer and you start to notice any mold growing on it, it is time to throw it away. This means air has come into contact with the quinoa and it’s no longer good for human consumption.
You can freeze quinoa that has been cooked in the microwave. Follow the same process of placing the microwaved quinoa in an airtight container or ziploc baggie after it has cooled down for 10-20 minutes.
Label the container or ziploc baggie and place it in the freezer.
There are many recipes for casseroles, soups and other dishes that incorporate quinoa that can be found online. Depending on the other ingredients in the quinoa dish, it is possible to make up a recipe ahead of time and freeze it for later.
Just be sure to follow the prep steps for freezing a quinoa dish by storing it in an airtight container.
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How Do You Reheat Frozen Cooked Quinoa?
If you have frozen some quinoa in the past you will need to know the proper way to reheat it for use.
To reheat your frozen quinoa you will need to do the following:
Take one of the bags of quinoa out of the freezer and let it defrost either in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for a few hours. You can also warm it in the microwave for 45 seconds to a minute, even if it’s still a little frozen!
Once it’s thawed, you can use it in any number of recipes, or season it and eat it as a side dish.
Where Did Quinoa Come From?
Quinoa is a gluten-free seed that can make a great substitute for rice and other grains. Everywhere we turn there are quinoa salads, quinoa fried rice, and now even quinoa protein shakes.
Forged in South America thousands of years ago and called “the mother grain” by the Inca, quinoa today is still considered a wonderful “superfood” — especially once the United Nations declared 2013 the “International Year of Quinoa.”
The plant that quinoa seeds come from is a flowering plant in the amaranth family. It is an herbaceous annual plant grown as a crop primarily for its edible seeds; the seeds are rich in protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins, and dietary minerals in amounts greater than in many grains.
Quinoa is not a grass, but rather botanically related to spinach and amaranth, and it originated in the Andean region of northwestern South America. It was first used to feed livestock 5,200 to 7,000 years ago, and for human consumption 3,000 to 4,000 years ago in the Lake Titicaca basin of Peru and Bolivia.
Today, almost all production in the Andean region is done by small farms and associations. Its cultivation has spread to more than 70 countries, including Kenya, India, the United States, and several European countries.
As a result of increased popularity and consumption in North America, Europe, and Australasia, quinoa crop prices tripled between 2006 and 2014.
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is the seed of the Chenopodium quinoa plant. Botanically speaking it’s a seed not a grain. However, it is often called a “pseudo grain” because it’s similar in nutrients and eaten the same way as cereal grains.
Quinoa was first grown for food 7,000 years ago in the Andes. The Incas called it “the mother grain” and believed it was sacred . Although it’s now grown around the world, the majority is still produced in Bolivia and Peru.
It was largely unknown to the rest of the world until very recently. Since then, it has experienced a huge surge in popularity because of its high nutrient content and health benefits.
Quinoa is also popular because it’s a gluten-free grain. This means people with celiac disease, wheat allergies or those who avoid gluten can consume it.