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Jam tarts are popular traditional British dessert food with a long history. And what made them endure the tide of times was the simplicity associated with the snack – both when it came to cooking and storing. Not only are these little snacks easy to make and keep, but they maintain their flavor profile longer than one would anticipate from a home-cooked sweet as well.
Yes, you can safely freeze jam tarts. It can be stored in the freezer for up to three months without losing its flavor and texture.
So, if you’re looking for dessert options you could batch-bake and keep without worry for a long time – jam tarts should definitely be on your list.
(Unless, you know, they all get eaten. These little guys can be gone in a blink if you’re not careful).
What Makes Jam Tarts Good for Freezing?
In fact, small sweet fruit-based open tarts have been English cuisine mainstays since the late Middle Ages at the very least. A fruit tart recipe these classic sweet snacks are thought to have evolved from has been found in a document dated all the way back to the 15th century.
The classic jam tart we all know (and dearly love) though come to be a little later – when the West Indian trade made sugar cheap and accessible, thus making many products earlier reserved for wealthier people accessible for the masses, jam being one of them. Jam – now an affordable, easy-to-make, and long-lasting product – quickly skyrocketed in popularity and consequently sneaked its way into multiple recipes, tarts being one of them.
In short, you can freeze jam tarts because you can freeze jam. Seriously, it’s a product that takes a lot of time to not only spoil, but change its flavor profile – so the freezer prolongs its shelf life, but does little damage to the taste.
Thus making a jam tart an ideal dessert to keep in the freezer.
How to Prepare Jam Tarts for Freezing
Luckily it doesn’t take much to prepare jam tarts for freezing. The only thing you need to do is be sure that the tarts have fully cooled, before getting them into the freezer.
You can go one step further:
- Make sure that the tarts have fully cooled;
- Properly store them (using an airtight container);
- Put the whole batch into the fridge overnight;
- The next day divide the batch into two parts: the one to be consumed in the next few days, and the one that you’ll be freezing for more long-term use;
- Transfer the second batch into a different container, put it into the freezer, and put it out of your mind until the time comes for them to be re-heated.
Mind you, the fridge part isn’t usually necessary, but can help in certain circumstances – say, when the weather is hot and you’re worried about leaving tarts to cool over a prolonged period, but can’t stay near the jam tarts to put them into the freezer as soon as they cool.
How to Freeze the Jam Tarts
So your tarts are now fully cool. Cold, even, if you’ve kept them in the fridge. Now it’s time to freeze them.
The one thing you need for freezing is a good airtight container that is safe for freezing. It can be a rigid container made of either plastic or glass, or it can be a flexible container – plastic wrapping or specialized bag with a tight seal (these days there are plenty of options from single-use disposable plastic ones to reusable silicone ones).
One material you should try to avoid is carton – carton containers just don’t seal very well. But if push comes to shove, you could probably still risk it (just try to swap them out for a better option as soon as you can – preferably in a couple of days).
Let’s break down how you should use each one:
Glass containers, when used correctly, are probably one of the best, if not the best, way to keep the tarts (I go one step further, but more on that later) in the freezer. Glass is overall a better material than plastic – it doesn’t absorb smells, doesn’t absorb germs, and overall lasts longer.
And, contrary to popular belief, they’re completely freezer-safe, unless you stuff them to the brim.
While there’s a risk of glass cracking and shuttering when used to store food in the freezer, it can be easily avoided by leaving enough space between the top layer and the lid for the food in the container to expand.
Plastic containers are also safe, though probably not as good for storing, as they do absorb smells and germs (so unless you want your jam tarts smelling like meat, double-check that the container is odorless before using it).
Also, make sure that your container has a plastic number on it and the number is either 4 or 5 (plastic is categorized by numbers from 1 to 7, and not all of them are safe for use).
Plastic sealable bags
Basically the same as plastic containers. One thing is that unlike containers they can’t protect the tarts from being crushed, so be extra careful when placing them in the freezer.
Silicone sealable bags
While silicone is a good material, it’s sturdy enough that if your bag is too small, it could crush the tart before you get to the freezing part. Make sure the bag is spacious enough for the tarts before using it.
If you choose to wrap tarts instead of storing them in the container, you should wrap each tart individually, not in a batch – even if it’s a small batch of 2-4.
How Long Can You Keep the Jam Tarts in the Freezer?
When I called jam tarts a long-lasting product, I didn’t exaggerate. Jam tarts can easily hold in the freezer for up to 3 months, give or take a couple of weeks.
If you find a surprise jam tart stash in your freezer that’s been there for more than 3 months, you could still likely thaw it and give it a taste to see if the tarts have lasted – chances are they have – but I’d advise against pushing it over 3,5 months.
How Does It Affect the Flavor?
It doesn’t affect the flavor at all.
With classic jam tarts, freezing doesn’t affect the flavor. While they’re the best when freshly made and worm if there’s a dessert that keeps up with their fresh version after being frozen, it’s the jam tarts.
One thing freezing might affect is the jam’s texture – it might become a tad more rigid after being frozen and then re-heated – but that’s not the case most often, and the flavor is still fine.
How to Defrost the Jam Tarts
The best way to defrost jam tarts is the best way to defrost any frozen food – let nature and time do their work.
Just take the jam tarts out of the freezer and let them thaw in the fridge, preferably overnight.
Alternatively, you can let the tarts defrost at room temperature unless it’s very hot. It will take a little less time – 4-5 hours against 6-8. Place a parchment sheet on a tray and place the tarts (unwrapped, if you stored them wrapped) leaving some space among them.
But if you’re in a hurry and need them defrosted much faster than overnight, then you could use either your microwave or your oven to do the job.
Defrosting in a microwave
Does your microwave have a defrost function? Great, use it at 20-second increments, waiting 10 seconds in-between, constantly checking on the tarts. Depending on the microwave, 1-3 instances should be enough. If it’s not enough, reduce the increments to 10 seconds, and keep checking until the tarts are fully defrosted and ready to be enjoyed!
If it doesn’t have a defrost feature, just lower your microwave’s power to around 30% and follow the same process.
Defrosting in an oven
Preheat an oven at a lower temperature and wait for the tarts to become warm through – around 15-20 minutes should be enough but start checking in on them earlier rather than later. As for different ovens “low temperature” could mean anything between 150 and 200 degrees, you’ll need to keep a constant eye on the tarts. If 20 minutes is not enough, keep checking on them every 3-5 minutes.
How to Reheat the Jam Tarts
The heating process is pretty similar to the defrosting process – you’ll just need to do it on tarts that have thawed in the fridge/on the counter.
Heating in a microwave
Use a fully powered microwave, heat for 30 seconds, and then check on them after every 15 seconds to ensure the tart doesn’t dry out.
Heating in an oven
Place the tarts in an oven pre-heated to around 200-250 degrees for around 10-15 minutes. Keep a constant eye so that the tarts don’t get burned.
Can You Re-Freeze the Jam Tarts?
Yes! If it turns out you’ve defrosted too many tarts and need to freeze them again – you can easily do so. Just follow the initial freezing recommendations.
Other ways of storing
Jam tarts are a well-enduring dessert, so if you don’t need to keep them for weeks, you can easily store them:
- In a pantry for 2-3 days;
- In a fridge for up to a week (with the first 5 days being the best).