When the winter cold is chilling you to the bone, there’s nothing more comforting than a tasty and nourishing soup. Yes, it’s soup season, and fortunately, most soup recipes yield quite large serving sizes, which means that you can have your soup now and store it away for an easy snack that will be ready to warm you up in no time.
However, if you’re the kind of person that likes to switch up flavors to keep things interesting, you may find yourself making multiple kinds of soup over a few days, which results in the delicious problem of figuring out how to store all your soups properly so that you can enjoy them later. Well, the freezer is your friend when it comes to soup storage, and we are here to help you figure out how to maximize its use.
Here are seven soup storage practices that will help you make the most of your leftovers.
Freeze soup in single-serving containers
Freezing soup in single-serving containers will ensure that you only reheat what you plant to eat. “Make sure to store in single-serve, freezer-safe containers or in freezer bags, removing as much air as possible,” advises Lauren Harris-Pincus, RDN, and author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club.
Don’t overfill your containers
Keep in mind that liquids expand when they’re frozen, so you’ll have to remember to not fill any container to the brim with your scrumptious soup. Leave a couple of inches so that your soup can expand without the risk of exploding.
Line your plastic or glass containers with plastic wrap
Keeping out as much air as possible is essential to effective soup freezing and has the added benefit of helping reduce the risk of freezer burn. To do this, line the top of your container (if you opt for a container or jar rather than bags) with plastic wrap before securing the lid.
Flatten your plastic bags before freezing
“I often freeze soups in re-sealable bags, then lay flat until frozen,” explains Harris-Pincus. “Once hardened, they can be stacked to maximize storage. Make sure it’s already cold before you put it in the freezer to prevent freezer burn.”
Understand what soups you can and cannot freeze
While most soup can withstand being frozen, there are some that are better suited to the freezer than others. For instance, you shouldn’t freeze soups that are dairy-based because the fats separate in the freezer which will lead to a broken soup once it’s reheated. Soups with a lot of veggies will not keep well either, as the veggies will become mushy in texture once thawed. The same goes for soups that are heavy with pasta or grains.
On the other hand, soups that have more beans or meat (like chili), or that are broth-based or pureed, are ideal for freezer storage.
Date your soup
To ensure that you don’t eat something that may not be good for consumption anymore, make sure to clearly label your soup with the date you put it in the freezer. For extra clarity, you can even add a best-by date, which generally falls within a three-to-six-month range.
Garnish your soups after thawing
Once you reheat your soup (preferably in a big cast iron that will allow for even heat distribution), add some fresh basil, parsley, dill, or any other appropriate herb to bring your soup back to life!