Almost every single food item can be put inside the freezer to store, but the million dollar question is whether or not they retain their characteristic quality and sharpness after freezing!
Shawarma is one hell of a preparation you really have to be worried for when you have it in the excess, because its chilling time in the freezer does more harm than good.
While fully prepared shawarma can be put inside the freezer to store for as long as 4 months, it shouldn’t, because some components in it like vegetables can cause it to become highly uninteresting after thawing.
This wouldn’t be a problem if the shawarma was made using only
meat, spices, cream and fat, but i guess we wouldn’t call that shawarma would we? It’d be more like a sandwich pro max now!
The problem with freezing shawarma
Vegetables are the real problems when it comes to freezing shawarma. They are made up of mostly water (more than 90 percent in the case of tomato), and all these water molecules freeze up when the vegetable is put inside the freezer, causing the cell walls to burst open when the vegetable is thawed. This results in a water flow from the veggie to other components of the food.
This is exactly what makes your shawarma uninteresting after thawing. Because the water from the vegetable will cause the baked dough to turn soggy and wet, affecting the overall crunch and interest you have in it.
The veggeies themselves will also have turn limp and watery which isn’t really nice to chew on, especially when it’s heated all over again!
And you really have no option, you have to let your shawarma sit to thaw otherwise there’s no way it becomes edible!
What can you do about it?
Ditch the tomatoes, onions, jelly, jam and other shawarma ingredients high in water content. Prepare them at the point of thawing and add them afterwards for a realistic crunch!
Surprisingly, you can add natural or processed cheese, fat, animal butter (as a coating on the shawarma dough to prevent sogginess), nut butters etc and your shawarma still wont turn out soggy after thawing.
Chicken, beef, sea food all hold up well during thawing for as long a 4 months. So you really don’t have any problem with them. But if you’re looking for a realistic way to save shawarma for months and still have it crisp when you prepare it, read below.
A much superior way to freeze shawarma
The best and most recommended way to freeze shawarma would be to separate it into individual components.
Freeze the doughs separately so they aren’t affected by the water based elements. Then prepare the sauces i.e mayo and pepper sauce and freeze them separately inside and air tight container. Forget the veggies, herbs and spices. Only add them when you’re finally preparing the shawarma.
For the chicken, you can freeze it during the marination step so it properly marinates when thawing in the refrigerator. Meat in this way can keep for as much as 3 months.
You can also finish up the chicken by marinating it for 3 to 4 hours and then cooking it properly before storing in the freezer for up to 4 months.
When you divide up the freezing chore this way, you’ll probably need more space in the freezer to work with and end up consuming a lot of time for the preparation, but the end result of a near perfect shawarma concoction “on demand” is well worth it in my opinion.
How to thaw frozen shawarma?
Before we learn how to thaw a frozen shawarma, let’s first learn how to properly freeze one.
To freeze a whole shawarma i.e a fully prepared shawarma, get a freezer safe bag or a plastic or glass container safe for the fridge and put the shawarma inside. Make sure to lower the temperature of your freezer (even lower than 0 degrees) hours before putting the shawarma inside to promote fast freezing which reduces the effect of textural disintegration in veggies like tomatoes.
You’ll still suffer the limpness and sogginess as mentioned above, but not to the exact same degree as when you slowly freeze the shawarma.
Another way to promote fast freezing is to avoid stuffing so much food in the freezer and limit how much you open the fridge and freezer door after putting the shawarma inside. You always want to locate the coldest spot in the freezer (which is typically the back), and place the shawarma there.
Label shawarma with freezing date and name to avoid mystery food. Also use within 2 to 3 months for best flavor and quality.
If you’re freezing in parts, everything is the same from the packaging to freezing techniques.
One thing you can do to free up space is to freeze individual shawarmas in their respective bags and then once they all fully solidified, place them inside a bigger plastic bag or container.
Make sure to label every item properly so you understand what it’s for or how to use it.
When it comes to thawing, you really don’t have any option besides the refrigerator. Remove the shawarma and place it inside the refrigerator and let sit overnight.
When cooking, heat up the meat to 165F (if poultry) or 145F (if beef or goat meat), the other fillings in a separate pan and then the baked dough in the microwave or on a skillet sprinkled with little vegetable oil.
Assemble and serve with your favorite accompaniment.
You can put shawarma in the freezer to store for as long as 3 to 4 months, but it may run into problems like sogginess and crunch-less veggie fillings after thawing. It may also loose flavor and generally become uninteresting.
The reason for this is the vegetable and other water based components which end up leaking water to the baked dough during thawing. The cell walls of the veggies also burst open and turn them limp and uninteresting.
For the best way to freeze shawarma, separate the individual components from meat to baked dough to sauces and freeze in air tight bags for no more than 4 months.