If you enjoy freshly made polenta, then you should consider adding in more ingredients to save some for later. You can keep polenta in the refrigerator and allow it to freeze. It is safe and it doesn’t, in any way, contaminate the food.
The deal, however, is that you have to take precautions on how you package fresh polenta for preservation.
It is not rocket science and just about anyone can learn how to preserve polenta correctly; once they know how to.
Before we get into the gist of how you can freeze your polenta, lets me first share with you my favorite polenta recipe.
I first learned about Polenta when I lived with my Grandma in Spain. I was seven years old I think, and it was in the late nineties. She would bake them fresh and serve it to my brother Luke and I in the mornings and evenings. It wasn’t the only meal we ate though. Growing up, I ate as much as five times a day, and the truth is I was skinny as a rope.
Our granny did not want our parents to think we weren’t getting fed properly. So she was generous with her servings. When Grandma passed away in early 2000, we could no longer enjoy a hot dish of freshly made polenta.
When I got to college, my roommate Alice was from Italy, and she would brag about how delicious her mum’s polenta and risotto tasted. So the next summer holiday, I was opportune to spend some time with her family and boy was she darn right!
Her mum’s recipe tasted just like my grannies, and she was also generous with her servings. I made sure I had my fill and wasn’t going to leave without the recipe. She gave me a few pointers and told me all the secrets she learned from her mother. Luke and I lost our mother shortly after he was born and had to go live with our grandma. After she passed away, our dad remarried, and our step-mum Helen wasn’t a fan of boiled cornmeal.
I needed the polenta recipe because it reminded me of my grandma. Although I have added a little upgrade to Alice’s mum recipe, it still tastes as sweet as did in the summer of 09.
So now that you are familiar with my history with polenta; let me share with you my favorite recipe.
My Short 10-mins Polenta Recipe
Polenta is ground cornmeal made into porridge. Preparing it is easy, and it can be ready in less than 20 mins.
My simple methods begin with adding water in a bowl and throwing in some salt. You want to ensure that the amount of water and cornmeal are proportional. So as the dish doesn’t look too runny. You will need to continue stirring the cornmeal in the bowl until it achieves a smooth paste.
The polenta should be ready once it is soft and creamy to the touch. You can decide to freeze it at this stage, but it is best not to spice it before storing it in the freezer. You will have to separate the serving you want to keep for later immediately it is boiled, and allow it to cool before freezing.
How to Freeze Polenta
You will need to line a baking dish with parchment paper. A shallow dish can also serve in place of a baking dish. All you need do is to line it with plastic food wrap. Lining the dish makes it easy for the polenta to come out of the dish once it is frozen.
The next step is to pour in the cooked polenta into the lined dish. You will need a spatula to scrape the polenta out of the cooking pot. With the same spatula, smoothen the surface of the dish. Once you are satisfied with how it sits in the dish, keep it in the refrigerator to harden. It should be solid in less than an hour.
Cut the polenta into smaller sizes making use of a knife. You must do this so you can easily access the polenta you want to use. So you don’t need to reheat the entire dish when you want some. You can cut them into any shape you want, but I fancy cutting them in 2-inch square shapes. It is easy to preheat this way and I don’t get to waste the dish.
After cutting the polenta into sizes, you should place them on a sheet of food wrap. Allow the sheet to be large enough to go over the polenta a few times. You should ensure that the wrap is tight enough and can easily be opened when needed. You need to do this for the remaining polenta chops.
The next step is to take an aluminum foil and wrap it over the food wrap. You may be wondering while the need to wrap again in aluminum foil. By so doing, you prevent air, and moisture from entering into the polenta. You also get to preserve its taste and appearance when it is free from any contaminant.
The last step is to place the polenta in a freezer bag and use a pen marker to note the date it was made.
So you got it now, you can freeze polenta and enjoy it after. It is a good way to prevent food wastage and save you some extra bucks at the end of the day.
You want to ensure that you use polenta a few weeks after freezing it. When stored properly, polenta can retain its taste for three months.
When preparing polenta for storage, you want to avoid adding any of the spices such as cream, butter, and cheese. You will have to do this when reheating the dish to eat. Adding butter and cheese to the dish before freezing it will compromise the taste after you reheat it.
How often do you enjoy freshly made polenta? Have you tried freezing it before? Also, we will like you to share your favorite polenta recipe with us.