Originally Posted by licia
I've seen the ads for finishing sauces and was wondering about make ahead sauces that could be kept in the freezer. I'd never thought about freezing the sauces before, but sometimes I do have some left and usually just toss it. I think I will try this when making sauces in the future and see how it works. Has anyone done this?
I concur with IronChef completely. The reason most thickened sauces do not freeze well is a matter of simple physics. Sauces thicken because a starch, or fiber swells like a water balloon as it absorbs water. This is true of cornstarch, flour, zanthum gum, arrowroot, tapioca and similar compounds. And, like a water ballon, the cell walls remain intact.
When you freeze these tiny "ballons", the water in them expands, and as the cell walls are rigid from the cold, they break. When the sauce is thawed, it will be mushy and watery. There are few if any intact fluid-filled starch cells to hold the water.
This is also why many veggies, such as starchy raw potatoes, and raw green beans turn to mush when frozen. Their plant cells burst from the expanding ice crystals, and the cell integrity is lost.
I don't know why this doesn't happen to meat tissue. I sould suspect that the higher portien content strengthens the cell walls. Bread doughs exhibit further resistance to damage due to freezing. Again, the gluten (wheat protien) is worked into strong bonds that may resist degradation by freezing.
So there you have it, some facts, and some speculation.
Seeeeya; Goodweed of the North