When it comes to saving food, freezers are our best friends. But if you know before you cook that you're going to freeze, you may want to do things a little differently. Here are some handy tips and tricks to make sure your frozen soup tastes as delicious as the day it was made.
1. Cool Down
Putting hot soup directly in the freezer can thaw your already-frozen food. To chill things off, place the hot soup pot in an ice-water bath in your sink and stir often. Dividing soup into smaller portions before cooling it will also help speed up the process.
2. Portion It Out
Turn your big batch of soup into convenient grab-and-go meals by freezing it in individual servings. Quart-size freezer bags (or 4-cup freezer-safe plastic or glass containers) will accommodate a single serving while giving the soup room to expand as it freezes, plus when frozen flat they stack easily. You'll have the perfect amount when you want just one meal—ideal for portion control.
3. Separate Grains and Pasta
Pasta and grains that are in a soup will soak up liquid and soften a bit as they freeze. If you like them al dente, cook and freeze pasta and grains separately from the soup and before serving add more broth as needed.
4. Hold the Dairy
Dairy tends to separate and become grainy when frozen and reheated. Leave it out of the soup but write on the bag how much to add after reheating so you don't have to root around for the recipe later on.
5. Keep Vegetables Al Dente
Cook your vegetables until they're just tender and still a bit crisp. They'll be perfect for your bowl for dinner but they'll also stay firm when frozen and reheated.
6. Label, Label, Label
Food can disappear into a freezer like it's in the Bermuda Triangle. To minimize the mystery, label soups with the recipe name, the date it was made and reheating and garnishing instructions so you remember where you left off.
7. Save the Garnish
Leave garnishes, such as chopped fresh herbs or nuts, off before freezing. When frozen, herbs lose their savory oomph and nuts lose their crunch.
8. Stock Up
Some soups freeze better than others, here are a few to get you started.
Garden-Fresh Asparagus Soup
This lemony asparagus soup is spiced with a touch of curry and gets added richness from “lite” coconut milk and creamy red potatoes. Top it with a dollop of crème fraîche or plain yogurt and serve warm or chilled.
Quick Beef & Barley Soup
Quick-cooking barley and sirloin help get this beef-and-barley soup on the table in a snap—and it doubles easily. If leftovers get too thick in the fridge, add a little broth when you reheat it. Serve with crusty bread and a glass of malbec.
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili
Make a double batch of this quick vegetarian chili, full of black beans and sweet potatoes, and eat it for lunch the next day or freeze the extras for another night. We love the smoky heat from the ground chipotle, but omit it if you prefer a mild chili. Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread and coleslaw.
Southwestern Vegetable & Chicken Soup
Who wouldn't want to eat their vegetables when they're tucked into a fragrant broth with bits of tasty chicken and spiked with a shot of fresh lime and cilantro? This healthy chicken vegetable soup seems even richer with the smoky flavor from roasted poblano peppers and garlic. Serve this healthy chicken soup recipe with tortilla chips.
Italian Wedding Soup
This Italian Wedding Soup recipe is Italian comfort food at its best, and this easy soup recipe lends itself to countless variations. Substitute spinach, chicory, chard or any other leafy green for the escarole or kale, and any leftover cooked (or canned) beans for the white beans in this healthy Italian wedding soup recipe .