How to Freeze Soup for Future Comfort Food

If you have been anywhere near children attending in-person classes or daycare, you may have already had your first cold of the season.   Flu, COVID, and RSV vaccinations will help prevent serious illness, especially among older adults, but while you are feeling healthy, it might be a good idea to freeze some of your next batch of soup for when you don’t feel well, suggests the New York Times The Veggie Newsletter.

As grocery prices continue to soar, more families are looking for ways to trim their food budget. Cooking from scratch at home can cut costs, and help families eat healthier, more balanced meals.  When the weather turns cooler, comfort foods like chicken or butternut squash soup can be a hearty alternative to summer salads and grilling.  

In homes where the nest is a little emptier as grown children go off to college or move out to start new careers and families, leftovers may go uneaten for days.  Taking a portion of stews, soups or pasta and freezing them for when you don’t feel like cooking, or feel unwell, can be a lifesaver and much easier on the pocketbook than ordering home delivery – healthier too!

According to Good Housekeeping, soup is best frozen after it has cooled down until tepid. After labelling freezer bags or containers, ladle in the soup, leaving 1/2 to 1 inch of space at the top to allow for expansion during freezing.  Leaving more can lead to freezer burn.  Freeze any pasta, rice or grain separately so it doesn’t become mushy; press out any excess air in the freezer bag, and seal.   By laying freezer bags flat, they are easier to organize and stack in the freezer. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says soup can be stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days and for 2 to 3 months in the freezer.  Soups containing milk or cream may separate in the freezer; try cooking up until the point of adding dairy and freeze the soup, putting in the dairy after reheating.  Let frozen soup thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating gently on the stovetop or in the microwave, stirring occasionally. 

Need a classic chicken soup recipe, or are ready to try something new?  New York Times Cooking is offering a 28-day free trial.  Cooking is $5 a month for the subscription after the trial ends.  Or visit Eating Well for 30 new soup recipes to make this fall.