Plan Ahead! Freeze Whole Grains for Future Meals

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

There were not so distant times when a quick meal always meant a bowl of pasta. These were the days when everyone was touting fat-free eating and big bowls of pasta were seen as a healthy dinner option day in and day out. While I have nothing negative to say about a good bowl of noodles, whole grains are usually where I land for quick meals these days. As we find ourselves entering the cooler months, why not make bigger batches and freeze some for later? We showed you how to do this with brown rice, but it doesn’t end there…

Many people don’t know that you can freeze already-cooked whole grains. It’s a great trick for days when you’re not sure what to have for dinner and don’t much feel like cooking: you pull out a package of frozen grains from the freezer, reheat them, and toss in a few extra veggies from the crisper, leftover beans or lentils and dinner is made. So does this work for all grains?

No. A good rule of thumb is that the larger, heartier whole grains will freeze well for use later. So amaranth and teff are probably out. But I freeze farro and wheat berries all the time and have great luck with them.

To do so, cook larger batches of grains and let them cool. Then store them in plastic freezer bags, laying them flat and stacking on top of one another inside the freezer. To thaw, microwave with a little water or heat over low heat in a heavy-bottom saucepan, adding a little liquid as necessary.

Some Grains That Freeze Well:
• Barley
• Buckwheat
• Millet
• Rice and Brown Rice
• Rye and Wheat Berries
• Bulgur Wheat
• Farro

(Image: Faith Durand)