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How long can frozen soups & casseroles be considered still edible?

I am pregnant (due in two months), made lentil soup a couple of days ago and froze the extra. I've never frozen meals before (always eaten extras as leftovers within a few days). I'm not sure if I start freezing extra portions of meals now, that they will still be edible in 2 1/2 months or so when I really need to just do something easy but want a home cooked meal.

Any advice?

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  1. Hi,

    I think you'd be fine. As a student, I cook a LOT all at once and then freeze the rest. I have stuff frozen from ages ago and whenever I want it, I just heat it up in the microwave and am good to go. Don't have kids though, so someone else may shed some light in that area. Good luck with your new baby!

    Y

    1. My experience with freezing has been more to do with taste... if something hasn't been solidly frozen the whole time it can get those little frosty crystals on the surface and the taste suffers.
      There is also "freezer burn" which tastes horrible. But that takes months and months to happen if it does.

      1. I think 2 1/2 mos. is fine. But always check for freezer burn - Open the container and look at the food while it is still frozen. When the top surface of the food inside the container has edges or small patches that appear stark, dull white, that is freezer burn caused by oxidation. Discard it. Or if when defrosted the food tastes stale - discard it.

        1. If you've properly packaged your leftovers in airtight containers (ziplocs, tightly sealed plastic tubs, whatever), your lentil soup will keep for a long, long time...six months is reasonable for lentil soup. Freezing will change the texture of some foods, but beans of all stripe take kindly to freezing. Certain more delicate meats, esp small bits of chicken, cooked noodles, carrots, and potatoes all suffer when frozen, IMHO. I get around this by making a huge pot of beef stew with few carrots & potatoes--eat the carrots & potatoes & such on the first go-round--then freeze the meat & juices as a kind of "base" for the next incarnation of soup.

          1. There's no way to answer that question unless you buy a thermometer and check the temperature.

            By the book, you shouldn't be using a refrigerator's frozen food storage compartment for home freezing.

            http://www.consumersearch.com/www/kit...

            4 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I actually laughed out LOUD at this one! Literally millions of Americans use the "frozen food storage compartment" AKA the freezer to freeze leftovers...just think of all the working parents whose kids would have starved without the benefit of home-cooked frozen foods! If you visited every house in my suburban neighborhood, you would find freezers crammed with homemade frozen foods, ranging from deer sausage to peeled shrimp to redfish & speckled trout to gumbo, red beans, blanched tomatoes....the list is endless, the quality is damn good, and food borne illness aren't felling huge segments of the population.

              In light of the industrial food supply's serious food safety issues, I'll put my trust in home-frozen any day.

              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                It's true that few people go by the book at home.

                However, the tests I URL'd above found "freezers" as warm as 40 degrees. Until you check the temperature of your storage compartment or chest freezer with a thermometer, you don't know if it's safe.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  I think if your freezer was 40 degrees, you'd see that your food was, well, not hard.

                  When my fridge was having some trouble, I noticed it in two places. The milk was not as cold as I like (somehow it really shows up there) and the juice ice pops for the kids weren't frozen (cause of the sugar content). But the freezer was still well below 32 degrees (I think around 10 or 15, once I bought a thermometer to verify my sense). So what I'm saying is that I think someone would notice if their freezer was 40 degrees (which is a correct fridge temp).

                  1. re: DGresh

                    Probably so, but the recommended temperature for frozen food storage is zero degrees or lower. At 33 degrees food feels frozen but bacteria can grow.

                    Personally I'm very casual about food safety, but I'm not seven months pregnant.

            2. I agree with the other posters, a couple of months should be fine. The only caution is to try to keep as much air as possible out of the container before you freeze it (allow a little headspace for expansion). This minimizes problems with freezer burn.

              1. Since you say you just started freezing you should also know that liquids expand when frozen. If you fill your container right up to the top it will overflow and mess up you freezer. So leave about an inch at the top when you fill your container.

                1. Good call. And use plastic. I embarassingly broke numerous glass jars trying to freeze the first chicken stock I ever made...

                  1. If you are going to become a serious freezer (ha ha) you should invest in a Food Saver or other device that sucks out excess air and lets you vacuum pack to go from freezer to boiling bag as well. Having a busy house, I freeze my spaghetti sauce in individual homemade bags. Then the kids can always have a meal by boiling some noodles and the freezer bag or nuking it in microwave. You may want refrigerate sauce first so it isn't too wet to seal. I have found bags from months ago and they were fine.

                    1. When you freeze in plastic containers place a plastic wrap before closing the lid it keeps it airtight.