In the hustle and bustle of modern daily life, the concept of a healthy, home-cooked meal often seems like a distant luxury. Enter the unsung hero of the culinary world: soup. Not only is soup a comforting and nutritious option, but it also emerges as a time-saving champ when made ahead of time and stored in the freezer.
Soup often gets a bad reputation for being a high-sodium food, and although data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) proves that canned soup can be incredibly high in sodium (over 800 milligrams per cup ), homemade soup can be considerably lower in sodium than its canned counterpart. For example, none of the following recipes contain more than 500 milligrams of sodium per serving. At the same time, adding fresh or frozen vegetables and legumes increases the fiber, vitamins and minerals you’ll get.
The beauty of the soup is its versatility and the ease with which it can be prepared in large quantities. Spend a lazy Sunday afternoon whipping up a pot of your favorite soup and you’ll be rewarded with multiple meals throughout the week (or even more if you freeze some!). Whether it’s a hearty minestrone, soothing chicken noodles, or a robust lentil stew, soups are indulgent and often taste even better after a day or two, allowing the flavors to meld and to intensify. If you store your soup in the refrigerator, Michigan State University recommends enjoying it within three to four days.
Freezing soup is a great way to plan a quick and easy meal for a later date. A few key steps can ensure that the flavor of your soups remains as appetizing as the day they were prepared. Let the soup cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers. Opt for airtight containers or resealable plastic bags, leaving some room for expansion. Consider dividing the soup into individual servings for even more convenience.
The longevity of a frozen soup depends on the ingredients and preparation methods. Most soups can be stored in the freezer for up to three months without significant loss of quality, Kitchn notes. However, if a soup requires dairy or pasta, it is best to leave these ingredients aside until the soup is thawed and served. Labeling containers with the date helps keep track of freshness and ensures you benefit from older batches first.
Once defrosted, reheating the soup is child’s play. Bring it to a simmer on the stove, allowing the flavors to meld again. Take the opportunity to adjust the seasonings, adding fresh herbs or a dash of citrus to invigorate the taste.
Having a freezer full of homemade soup is like having a nutritional safety net. With a little planning and a ladle in hand, you can ensure that a nourishing, flavorful meal is just a quick thaw away. The following 10 soup recipes are the perfect way to start stocking your freezer, so you’re ready whenever dinner time rolls around.