Let’s face it, the long, frigid months of January and February can be a drag. The holidays are over, the warmth of spring feels like a distant mirage, and kitchen inspiration can be tough to find. It’s just the time to brush off the soup pot and start stocking the freezer. One afternoon at the stove can yield a stash of soup that you can pull out as needed, heat up and pair with a salad or grilled cheese sandwich for a fast and easy meal. Here are a few tips for pulling it all together:
- Start by sitting down with a cup of tea, planning out what soups you want to make and jotting down a shopping list. Mix it up – a variety of bean soups, vegetable-based soups, chowders and bisques will keep things interesting.
- Many soups start with a flavor base of chopped onions, carrots and celery – or as the French say, a mirepoix. Save time by prepping these vegetables for all your soups at the same time. Stow the chopped onions in one bowl, the carrots in another, etc. Scoop out as needed when you start cooking. Unlike baking, soup making is not an exact science. So if you scoop out a little more onion than a recipe calls for, no big deal—it will still be delicious.
- If you are making a blended soup, make sure you work in batches and don’t fill the blender the whole way up. The rising steam from hot soup can force the lid to pop off, sending scalding soup all over the kitchen (and you). Veterans prefer to use an immersion blender, which lets you blend the soup right in the pot. It’s also a breeze to clean, and looks snazzy.
- When the soups are finished, let them cool completely before dividing them into freezer containers. If covered while still warm, soups, especially meat-based ones, can sour.
- A wide-mouthed canning funnel comes in handy when ladling soup into containers. Leave at least the top inch of the jar clear to allow for expansion as the soup freezes.
- Store soups in a variety of different-sized containers—pint-sized jars for individual lunches, and larger sizes for a group. If you’re out of jars, try storing soups in resealable plastic bags. Lay the filled bags flat on their sides on a cookie sheet to freeze. Once solid, they can be neatly stacked away.
- Don’t forget to label and date your soups! Frozen soup will keep about a month in a regular freezer and even longer in a chest freezer.
For soup recipes that you can cook and stock in your freezer, visit