So I decided to make two large crockpots full of chicken rice soup. Some for tonight and some to freeze so we can have hot soup on those cold nights! It's just my husband and I, but we really love soup! We're young and often find that we get home so tired that neither of us want to cook!
Anyway, what is the best way to freeze soup? Do I need to cool it before I put it in the freezer? Oh and I'm planning on storing it in freezer bags frozen flat because our freezer is on the small side!
Thanks in advance for your help!
First of all, make certain that your soup will freeze well. Some soups, especially seafood soups, do not tend to freeze well. You can get away with freezing most other types though.
Let the soup cool as close to room temperature as you can get it. Many soups, especially those with large amounts of fat, will retain large amounts of heat for a decent period of time. If you put them into the freezer hot, you can actually endanger other frozen items that are next to it. You also make your freezer work much harder.
When you freeze something, try to do so in portions that will be easy to unfreeze. If you plan to use six cups next time, measure and freeze six cups now. That way, you don't have to worry about defrosting the entire amount just to remove part of it. When in doubt, freeze by cup or half cup portions.
Choose a container that will freeze well and protect its contents. Make certain that it is slightly larger than the portion to be frozen in it, as the soup will expand somewhat when it freezes. Freezer bags should do the trick, as long as they are sturdy enough and seal tighly at the edges. Perhaps you might wish to use a second bag or put the bags in some tray until the soup has frozen, in case you have any leaks. Cleaning out a freezer is not fun, especially when something has had the time to freeze to the insides.
Make certain that the containers are labeled with the contents and the date the recipe was made. It also helps to include a "Use By" date. Labeling is best done before the containers have anything in them.
When measuring the soup out for freezing, don't fill the container all the way to the top. Rather leave some space, as the liquid in the soup will expand when it freezes.
Fasten the lid tightly or make certain that the container is otherwise fully sealed before putting it away.