I hardly restrain myself from overbuying tortillas.
The first reason is that I do not know how to say no to a good bargain. The second reason is that they are my favorite go-to option whenever I’m too tired to cook, or I need to fix a quick meal (honestly, this happens a few times a week). It is not hard to conclude that having them in stock is a must in my household.
As I previously wrote, you can keep tortillas in a fridge or a pantry at room temperature (depending on the kind of course) for several days. But the real problem occurs after. How to prevent wastage? Of course, naturally, the question arises can you freeze tortillas?
The answer is yes!
You can freeze both store-bought and homemade tortillas no matter if they are made from corn or wheat flour since their texture and taste will remain intact if you properly freeze them. Today I am going to teach you how to freeze tortillas the right way.
How To Freeze Tortillas
When freezing tortillas, you can keep them in their original packaging or place them in a Ziploc bag or a container, just make sure the packaging is tightly sealed and you are good to go for the next five months approximately. Of course having enough space in the freezer to lay them flat is implied or else you risk oddly shaped tortillas.
They do not need any special preparation process, but you should put a bit more effort and care if you plan to freeze tortillas and expect them to last for up to several months in your freezer. It is logical that their quality will deteriorate with time spent in the freezer since they can be freezer burned if you don’t protect them well.
Naturally, the tortillas that have been frozen for a week or two are a way better option than tortillas that have been frozen for a couple of months.
To prevent freezer burns, I highly recommend wrapping each tortilla with foil or baking sheath, so they do not stick once they are frozen. You can also use wax paper to keep away the frost that can toughen the ingredients, which will cause your tortilla to become chewy when you warm it up.
Don’t rush when wrapping your tortillas; the better you wrap them, the less vulnerable they’ll be to freezer burn. Make sure you surround each tortilla in a layer of foil before putting it in a plastic bag.
Always use a thick, high-quality bag. Product bags tend to be thin and flimsy, which rarely provides enough protection when you freeze tortillas, especially in the long run. That is why zipper bags specially marketed as freezer bags are the best pick for the freezing process.
If you do not want to open up the original packaging and you are sure you will spend all tortillas from it in a single go, you can place it in a Ziploc bag and freeze it that way.
The next step is not obligatory, but I recommend you to follow it for the best possible result. Chill your tortillas in the refrigerator before you freeze them.
We all know that the cooling process draws moisture out of the food, which leads to the creation of the crystals that dry the food out as well as enhance the unpleasant taste of freezer burn. That is why you should never freeze the warm tortillas since they contain more moisture than cold ones, which will cause additional ice crystals to collect inside your packaging, making your tortillas turn rancid and moldy in time.
Separating Frozen Tortillas
As the tortillas freeze, they stick together in a solid mass that sometimes becomes hard to separate unless they thaw completely. It can even occur that once they melt, you’ll have to separate them very carefully to avoid tearing and shredding them.
If you shred your tortilla while separating them, don’t despair; they might not be suitable for tacos and burritos, but you can still use them in dishes such as enchiladas. You can quickly reassemble the tortilla and cover it with salsa and cheese, which will entirely cover and hide the rips.
The only thing to prevent ripping them is to avoid being lazy and separate them by placing dividers between the individual tortillas. As separators, you can use sheets of parchment paper, wax paper, and aluminum foil, or you can place each tortilla in a separate bag.
The great thing about placing something between the tortillas is that they allow you to separate them quickly once they thaw, separate them easily even when they’re frozen so you can defrost only the amount you need and keep the rest safe.
How To Defrost Frozen Tortillas
Tortillas are very thin, so they thaw in a couple of minutes, but never place them straight from the freezer on the countertop since this will result in wet tortillas. The way I like to do it is to remove the desired quantity of tortillas from the freezer and put them in the refrigerator overnight.
Thirty minutes before preparation, I will take them out of the refrigerator and place them on the countertop to warm them up. The room temperature will provide enough warmth for them to soften up and become flexible. Prepare your desired filling in the meantime.
Just before serving you’ll want to make them hot and yummy, so reheating in the microwave or on the open flame is the best option to warm frozen tortillas. When reheating the tortilla over the open flame, you will retain their flexibility without the risk of making it brittle, which is no concern when using the microwave.
The microwave allows tortilla to retain its texture; however, you must be extra careful when using the microwave since it will keep them moist, but there is still a risk of sogginess. Remember there’s a fine line between making your tortilla perfect or making it brittle—this especially concerns tortillas that don’t contain additives that allow them to be flexible.
One more tip never ever place previously frozen tortilla back in the freezer. They are meant to be frozen and defrosted only once.
What About Homemade Tortillas?
If you prefer homemade tortillas, it is a better option to freeze tortilla dough than to freeze already made tortillas, since this way you will always have fresh, tasty tortillas on the reach of your hand.
The process is straightforward since all you need to do is form small balls of dough, put them on a baking pan covered with baking sheath, and place it into the freezer until they are completely frozen. Remove them from the freezer, cover the dough balls adequately with foil and store them in a sealed airtight package.
You can freeze tortillas easily and in all forms, which include tortilla chips and tortilla shells; just make sure you store them in a tightly sealed bag or container. There is no need to worry since the tortillas will come out of the freezer fresh and flexible as the day you bought them.
Dealing with tortillas is not a big deal; all you need is some time, wax paper, and Ziploc bags. There is nothing that can go wrong in this process, and even the kid can do it.
There is only one thing that I always recommend is to avoid freezing tortillas in original packaging since there is too much air in there, which can lead to molding. Let’s not forget that they will for sure, stick together, which can be a nightmare. If you unpack them and layer each tortilla separately, you will be able to use them with more ease since you can always defrost just one or two and avoid spoiling a big batch for no reason.
Don’t waste your hard-earned money if there are always some simple tricks that can be used to prolong the shelf life of your food.