A Quick Guide to Freezing and Reheating Soup …

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I love soup … I love making it and I love eating it! It’s a real comfort food and I enjoy making it from scratch for a simple, quick and nutritious meal. I also love that I can make a huge pot of soup and create enough for several meals at once because that really saves me time. I’ve previously shared some lovely soup recipes on the blog, so today I thought I would also share a few tips for freezing and reheating soup safely, quickly and easily.

 

  • One of the simplest rules to remember when freezing soup is to leave out any ingredients that don’t freeze well. For example, pasta usually turns mushy once frozen, so after defrosting and reheating your soup, add some freshly cooked pasta then. Potato is another ingredient that tends to get mushy and fall apart once frozen, so it’s best added later. If you do, however, decide to freeze potatoes, blending the soup will eliminate this problem once the soup is defrosted.

 

  • Leave out any other ingredients that are usually added in the last few minutes of cooking. Things like egg or cheese won’t freeze well so add these once the soup has been defrosted and reheated. If your soup recipe asks for fresh herbs (particularly only a few minutes before serving), leave these out before freezing and then add when you defrost and reheat. Any herbs that are added to your soup at the start of cooking will probably freeze okay. Fresh basil, coriander and parsley are some of the main herbs that probably won’t freeze well.

 

  • Add cream or milk later. These two ingredients can become “grainy” once frozen and can sometimes even separate. Leave them out before freezing and add when the soup is reheated.

 

  • If you’re making your soup to freeze and it contains vegetables, undercook them slightly as they will cook a little more as a result of the reheating process. If the vegetables are a little under done when frozen, they also wont turn to a mushy consistency. So, if the soup you are making is to eat straight away, separate what you plan to freeze before it’s fully cooked and finish cooking the portion you will be eating.

 

  • Before your soup is frozen, it should be cooled first. Avoid putting hot soup directly in the freezer because it may raise the temperature of already frozen food, which would then make it unsafe to eat. Once cooked, turn off the heat and stir the pot to release as much steam as possible. Allow the soup to sit uncovered until it cools slightly. Warm soup can be placed in the fridge to finish cooling. Covering it loosely will allow steam to escape and prevent contamination from other foods accidently dropping into the pot. Transfer the cooled soup to containers or bags to freeze. If you’re in a hurry and need to cool the soup quickly, place some cold water and ice in the sink and lower the pot into the cooled water. Once the soup has cooled, it can then be packed and frozen. Once frozen, most soups are best eaten within 3 months.

 

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  • Whether you use a container or a zip lock bag to freeze the soup, make sure it’s labeled with the type of soup and the date. If you have measured out a particular number of serves, write that on the bag also as it will be helpful for meal planning later. Also make a note on the label of any special ingredients you’ve included just in case you have someone in your home with special dietary requirements e.g. gluten free or an allergy to certain foods.

 

  • If you’ve gone to the trouble to make a double or larger batch of soup, don’t leave it in the pot to get picked over at dinner time. Separate any portions for freezing before serving the soup for dinner. It’s also easy to overeat if food is sitting on the stove in a pot.

 

  • When freezing soup, make sure you choose the right size container. There should only be approximately ½ to one inch of space between the soup and the lid. This space allows the soup to expand as it freezes, so don’t be tempted to completely fill the container. The space also reduces the amount of air in the container, which can lead to freezer burn. Another way to prevent freezer burn is to place a piece of plastic wrap/Glad Wrap directly onto the surface of the soup before freezing … just remember to remove it before heating or eating the soup. To prevent meat or vegetables in soup from drying out, make sure they are covered with enough liquid from the soup. Double check that your containers are suitable for the freezer, and food storage in general, and also be sure that the lids will seal tightly to prevent leaks, spills and food odours escaping into your freezer. Old yoghurt or butter containers are perfect for storing and freezing soup just make sure they have been well cleaned first.

 

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  • Alternatively, freezing soups in zip lock bags is a great idea and I’ve done this for years. Label the bag and use a ladle to fill the bag to the desired level. Placing the zip lock bag inside a bowl or tall container can make this job easier. Simply fold the top of the bag over the sides. Once full, squeeze out as much air as possible (but remember to leave a little bit of space for the soup to expand) and seal the bag. Lay the bags flat in the freezer. A baking pan or tray is perfect for laying the soup flat until it’s frozen. Once frozen, I like to repack the bags standing up into a larger container as this makes them easier to see, saves space in the freezer and keeps the freezer organised.

 

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  • If you would like to freeze smaller quantities for a child, for example, pour or ladle soup into silicone muffin trays. Once the soup has frozen, remove it from the tray and store in either labeled zip lock bags or a container.

 

  • If packing individual serves of the soup, 2 – 3 cups is a good guideline for the quantity to freeze for one adult.

 

  • When it’s time to defrost the soup, thaw it safely by placing in the fridge overnight. To prevent leaks or spills, place the bag or container on a plate. Don’t be tempted to defrost soup or any other perishable food on the kitchen bench at room temperature as bacteria can multiply quickly in food that’s not chilled. Alternatively, the soup can be fully or partially defrosted in the microwave. Just remember to open the bag or container first to allow steam to escape and check that the bag or container is microwave safe. Add the partially defrosted soup to a pot and reheat slowly before adding any additional ingredients.

 

So tell me, do you enjoy eating soup and which one is your favourite?

 

With the cooler weather just around the corner, here are some delicious soup recipes that you might like to try:

 

Pumpkin Soup 001

 

or this:

 

Corn and Bacon Soup 001

 

or this:

 

Tomato Soup with Celery and Fennel 001

 

or this:

 

Lamb Shank and Vegetable Soup 001

 

or this:

 

French Onion Soup 001

 

 

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