When You’re Tired of Leftovers: Freeze Your Cooked Whole Grains

(Image credit: Anjali Prasertong)

I love leftovers, but I realize not everyone shares the sentiment. My boyfriend, for one, is in this camp. We often make a big pot of grains on the weekend to eat throughout the week, but there are times when Wednesday rolls around and we’re simply sick of quinoa and brown rice. Then the question inevitably arises: what to do with half a pot of cooked grains? Freeze it!

Freezing baked goods, leftover fruit, sauces and stocks are a frequent habit for many of us, but freezing cooked grains isn’t nearly as common. And I think that’s because many people don’t know you can do it in the first place — or are nervous about how it’ll taste. The trick to freezing grains is to only really attempt it with heartier grains, avoiding tiny candidates like amaranth or teff. But I often freeze wheat or spelt berries, farro, millet and rice with no problem. 

Logistically though, how to even go about freezing them? First, you want to make sure the grains are completely cool before attempting to freeze them. Then fill a plastic freezer bag with the grains and lay it flat on the freezer shelf (you can stack these bags to optimize your space). When you’re ready to eat them, simply microwave the grains with a little liquid. or heat over low heat in a saucepan, adding liquid as needed.

As for the texture: I’m not going to lie. You’ll likely be able to tell the difference. I find the grains are not as toothsome and distinct, but they still taste great and I’m willing to sacrifice a bit of lovely texture not to spend days eating grains I’ve temporarily grown tired of.

This post requested by WendyMR for Reader Request Week 2013.

(Images: Faith Durand)