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I've made too much beef stew, and I'd love to be able to freeze it instead of letting it go bad.

It's a stew with cooked vegetables and chunks of beef.

Will this freeze and defrost well?

(If it matters, I bought the beef frozen, not fresh -- but I think the "don't refreeze" guideline is before cooking.)

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    I do it all the time -- but try to use appropriately sized containers, so you're stuck with so much you get tired of it again when you thaw it out. – Joe Sep 27 '16 at 17:04
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Yes, you can freeze stew. You may find that the vegetables are a bit softer or broken into smaller pieces after thawing. If you used a thickening agent (flour, cornstarch), it may separate as it thaws in the refrigerator overnight. To remedy that, remove a bit of the liquid, simmer with a bit more thickener and whisk so that it stabilizes. Then, gently stir into the stew as you reheat it.

And, you're correct, 'don't refreeze' applies to the raw meat, not to when it has been cooked.

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  • The only thing I'd add would be that cooked potatoes (if you use them) tend to get a weird texture when you freeze them. Otherwise, no problem! – Tristan Sep 27 '16 at 20:42
  • @Tristan I've found that potatoes in stew freeze OK. Out of liquid they generally don't. – Chris H Sep 28 '16 at 9:29
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By all means, freeze the stew! Having some ready meals in the freezer is a wise move, come winter or on a hectic day you'll probably be grateful for it.

Your meat won't suffer and while the veggies might get a bit mushier, I assume in a stew they will be quite soft already.

The don't re-freeze is more about quality of raw meat than about food safety - if you defrost in the refrigerator where the meat will never get in the "danger zone".

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  • "Don't refreeze" is absolutely about food safety. It's actually over cautious, but the rule is simple enough for people to remember, and the actual safe limits aren't. The "danger zone" is also an oversimplification. Food poisoning bacteria can grow in fridges - they just do so very slowly. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Jan 6 at 18:05
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I would add to cool the stew a bit in the freezing container(s) on the countertop first, then in the fridge for a couple of hours before putting in the freezer. This helps the liquid/gravy not to separate in the freezer.

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