Saturday, October 4, 2008

MoFo 4: Putting Up Homemade Soups

No matter what you call it ... "putting up soup" ... "putting soup by" ... or just plain ol' boring "storing soup," the effort is definitely worth the eventual convenience.  We're sticking with freezing here because canning soups can be tricky.  I most appreciate my stock of frozen soups when I'm sick because, let's face it, my mom's not around to make me soup with I'm feeling bad. I am the mom around here.  And for the record, even if my mom were around, she'd be serving me Panera takeout soup, not homemade.  Nothing against Panera, but ... you know.  My mother does not cook, which is probably why I love to cook so much.  But I digress.

Since we've covered how to make homemade veggie stock and how to store it for later, storing soup is the next logical topic up for discussion.  Here's what you need to know in order to freeze homemade soups and have 'em still taste great when the time is right:
  • Almost any soup can be successfully frozen and enjoyed at a later date.
  • Just like homemade stocks, soups will keep in the freezer about 6 months.
  • Under-salt your soup a bit because saltier items take longer to freeze.  Just remember to salt your soup to taste upon reheating.
  • If your soup has veggies in it, undercook them a little so they finish cooking, without getting mushy, upon reheating.
  • If your recipe calls for soy or nut milk, soy yogurt, or any nondairy dairy-type ingredient, hold off on adding it until the soup is thawed and reheated.
  • The same goes for carbs like taters, pastas, and rice.  These items will get all mushy while frozen.  Instead, add them when the soup is thawed and reheated.  As an aside, the same is true for longer stints in the fridge.
  • If you are leaving any ingredients out per the above guidelines, be sure to add that information to your label.  (See below for example.)
  • Adhere to all the general recommendations listed in yesterday's post on storing homemade stocks.  (Clean containers, labels, headroom, chill before freezing, thawing guidelines, etc.)
So, let's say I want to freeze some Chickpea Noodle Soup from 'Nomicon.  And why wouldn't I? It's like The Bestest Soup Evar when you've got the sniffles and it's cold outside.  Or when you're just feelin' down.  Whenever, really.  It's phenomenal.  I would undercook the veggies by a couple minutes, withhold the soba noodles, and cut off the last 15 minutes of cooking.  I'd then allow the soup to come to room temperature, chill it in the fridge, and then store it in the freezer.  My label for the soup would look something like this:

Chickpea Noodle Soup
Made: ??/??/????
Use by: ??/??/????
Thaw and bring to boil. Once the broth is boiling, break 6 ounces soba noodles into thirds and throw them in. Lower the heat to medium so that the soup is at a low boil. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 




allularpunk said...

you're so smart. i like that.

vegan addict said...

Our freezers probably look very similar inside! Great soup tips.

Liz said...

Great tips! Most of these apply to canning soups as well. I still haven't made that chickpea soup. Perhaps today is the day, though. It's rainy and cold!

Princess-R-Us said...

This is great to know! This is the time of year that I enjoy making my homemade soups. It will be nice to make a double batch and store some for later. :) Great topic Marni! xoxo

jessy said...

thanks for the tips & guidelines, Marni! i would have never thought to do even half that stuff. so thank you, thank you, thank you! also good to know about the 6 month time frame - i thought a few soups we had frozen were look'n kinda icky. i'm gonna compost them and start putting dates on stuff, too!

Zoey said...

Hi Marni,

This was a great post. I have only frozen soup one time and it had pasta in it. Your post knew the result- it became pasty and mushy (not good). I had no idea that the pasta was the problem, so now I am ready to try my hand at freezing soups again. Thank you!

Marni said...

Allularpunk - LOL Thanks. :)

Vegan Addict - If you are as obsessed with putting things by for later, then our freezers probably do look alike. I find the process so satisfying and absolutely love the results.

Liz - Good to know with regard to canning soups. I'm assuming soups would need to be pressure-canned (???), and I only have the hardware for water bath canning. I'd love to give the other a try some time, though.

Princess-R-Us - Thanks, mama! We had lots of fun making soup to freeze this past weekend. (By "we" I mean "me," of-course.) And the great part was the weather actually cooled down for it. I'll have to have you over for dinner some time so you can experience a vegan meal.

Jessy - Hooray! I'm so glad this info is helpful. Sometimes I feel like little more than a corporeal collection of miscellaneous foodie information. :)

Zoey - Yay! Happy to hear you enjoyed it. Give freezing soup another try and I bet you'll really love the results.