Using leftovers can really help in stretching the food budget. Soup is one food product that if not saved correctly can really bring both the flavor and nutrition level down. There are some simple things to remember in storing soup that will keep this from happening.
Here are four simple steps that can be used that will help keep the flavor of soup and storing your soup easier.
- Chilling Soup. Before you can store your soup you need to let it cool down. A fast way to do this is by placing your soup into a bowl. Take the bowl and place it into a sink that is filled with ice water. Stir the soup (it will cool faster). Do not place warm or hot soup into the refrigerator or the freezer. After the soup has cooled down you can place it into the refrigerator to chill. After the soup has chilled the excess oil will rise to the top of the soup and then will solidify. This makes it easier to skim off any fats and oils.
- Freezing and storing soup. Transfer the cooled soup into a freezer-friendly container. Freezer-safe containers keep the smell of other foods from transferring to the soup. Think about whether it is going to be used again for the entire family or for individual servings. Either way, be sure to leave room for the soup to expand as it freezes. A great idea for individual servings is to store the soup in freezer bags. The sandwich-size bag is about the right size for an individual serving. Place the cooled soup into as many bags as needed. Then lay the bags flat onto a baking sheet. Place into the freezer until frozen solid, then remove the tray.
- Labeling soup. When it comes to labeling your container you can be as creative as you want or you can just write the name of the soup and the date directly on the container. You can also use adhesive tape and write the soup and the date on to the tape and place the tape onto the container.
- Reheating soup. When reheating your soup if it is frozen you do not want to let it thaw at room temperature. If food is thawed by room temperature you can run the risk of allowing bacteria to contaminate the food. Thaw your soup by letting it defrost completely in the refrigerator. After the soup has thawed reheat it by using a microwave or the stovetop.
There are some soups that do not store well. These are usually soups with a cream base or soups with potatoes and pasta. The flavor usually stays about the same, but they will lose some texture. Frozen soup will last about two to three months in the freezer, anything longer and the flavor will start to diminish.