Lentils are loved by many because they are easy to make and they are delicious. If you are someone who always has a busy schedule then lentils are the perfect thing for you to make in excess then simply store. Cooked lentils last for a reasonable amount of time when stored the right way. Here is a guide on how to store cooked lentils. Carefully follow it for the best results.
- 1 Store cooked lentils in the fridge
- 2 Store cooked lentils in the freezer
- 3 How to defrost cooked lentils
- 4 How to reheat cooked lentils
- 5 Tips for dealing with lentils
- 6 Conclusion
Store cooked lentils in the fridge
NB: this method only stores cooked lentils for about 1 week. Therefore, you need to use them within that time frame to avoid disappointment.
In order to store leftover cooked lentils in the fridge you need to start by letting them cool down at room temperature. This is because if you place them in the fridge while warm they could ultimately cause the temperature of the fridge to change. This will then compromise the shelf life of other foods.
Once the cooked lentils have cooled down you need to place them in mason jars or any air tight container that you have. This will help to ensure they do not cross contaminate with other foods in the fridge.
The last step is to store cooked lentils in the fridge. They will last for about a week in the fridge.
Store cooked lentils in the freezer
NB: this method stores cooked lentils for up to 6 months. However, the problem with storing cooked lentils in the freezer is that the freezer can sometimes compromise their texture.
In order to store leftover cooked lentils in the freezer you need to start by ensuring that the cooked lentils have cooled down. This is because storing leftover cooked lentils when they are hot can cause the temperature of the freezer to change.
The next step is to take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Spread the cooked lentils on top such that they will be in a single layer.
Place the baking sheet into the freezer and let the cooked lentils freeze for 1 to 2 hours or until they are thoroughly frozen. Transfer the frozen lentils into freezer bags and label the freezer bags with the date in which you are storing cooked lentils in the freezer.
Store cooked lentils in the freezer. They will last for up to 6 months.
How to defrost cooked lentils
If your cooked lentils are in the freezer then you can always defrost them by transferring them from the freezer to the fridge. This helps to ensure that the lentils are not exposed to bacteria. In most cases bacteria usually affects foods that are stored between 40F to 140F. The fridge provides temperatures that are below that range. Therefore, it is safe to thaw foods in the fridge.
How to reheat cooked lentils
Reheat cooked lentils using hot water
NB: this is the best and one of the easiest methods for reheating cooked lentils and it takes approximately 5 to 8 minutes.
In order to reheat leftover cooked lentils using hot water you need to start by placing the cooked lentils in a bowl. The cooked lentils should be in a leak proof bag. Add warm water to the bowl and let the cooked lentils sit in there for 5 to 8 minutes. After the estimated time your cooked lentils should be warm enough to eat.
Reheat cooked lentils in the microwave
NB: this is the fastest method for reheating cooked lentils and it also proves to be very easy.
When reheating cooked lentils in the microwave start by placing them in a microwave safe container. Add water to the cooked lentils. This will help to prevent them from drying out during the reheating process. Cover the bowl with a splatter guard. This is because cooked lentils have a tendency of popping during the reheating process. So in order to avoid a messy microwave its best to cover them up. Place the cooked lentils in the microwave and reheat them for 1 minute. Take them out and give them a gentle stir. Place them again to reheat for 30 seconds. After this your cooked lentils should be reheated thoroughly. If not you can always return them into the microwave and reheat them for an additional 30 seconds.
Reheat cooked lentils on the stove
NB: this is a decent method for reheating cooked lentils. However, you need to keep a close eye on the cooked lentils as they can end up over cooked.
Start by placing the cooked lentils in a pot and cover them with water. Place the pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Once the water starts boiling remove the lentils by draining the water. The cooked lentils will be warm enough to eat and you can serve them with anything that you like. If your lentils had been stored in a sauce then you do not need to add any water. Simply reheat them with their sauce. Avoid reheating cooked lentils on the stove for a long period of time. This is because they might end up overcooked.
Tips for dealing with lentils
- Store cooked lentils within 2 hours after preparation. This is because if you keep them at room temperature for a long time you will actually be exposing them to bacteria.
- Once you have reheated cooked lentils it is not advisable to reheat them for a second time. This is because you can end up compromising the texture and flavour of cooked lentils.
- Once you have reheated cooked lentils you need to eat them as soon as possible to reduce any chances of food poisoning.
Cooked lentils are very easy to store especially when you follow the guide above. Remember that when storing cooked lentils in the freezer you need to divide them into portions. This will help you in future. Instead of defrosting the whole batch of cooked lentils you can simply defrost 1 portion.