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What kind of soup is bad to freeze, why, and what about mirepoix?

r
Rafie Jan 15, 2009 11:42 AM

I read somewhere on this board that potato and vegetable soups freeze poorly. Why is that?

And on a related note, is it possible to freeze mirepoix? and peppers for use later? I'm guessing that so long as they end in "stew-like" configurations, it should be ok to have that excess water - right?

I realize this must be a question any basis cook in their preschool years would know, but I had to ask! Thanks

  1. Sooeygun Jan 30, 2009 12:59 PM

    I don't make stock often enough to use the veggie scraps that I use as part of my mirepoix, so I have a ziplock bag in the freezer that I keep adding to until it's stock time. Unless I am making stock that needs to be very specific in it's ingredients, I am not to fussy about making a classical stock. So the bag has trimmings of carrot, onion, celery, tomato, herb stems, chicken bones and trimmings, beef trimmings. Makes a great stock.

    1. h
      HungryLetsEat Jan 30, 2009 11:51 AM

      I freeze soup for my vegetarian daughter. Her favorite is Roasted Vegetable, White Bean and Kale soup. The veggies do break down a bit but it's still tasty.

      1. l
        LauraGrace Jan 15, 2009 06:47 PM

        Potatoes get mealy, in my experience, when frozen in soups. Milk or cream-based soups will separate if frozen, so I do the same as pobo and make and freeze the base of the soup without adding dairy, then add it when I reheat the soup.

        As to why, I'm no food scientist, but I imagine it's something to do with the suspension of milk solids in the water portion of milk. Same reason you can't boil half-and-half, I guess. Dairy is a delicate flower, apparently. ;)

        1. alkapal Jan 15, 2009 06:45 PM

          peppers freeze great. slice or chop cleaned peppers, freeze on a baking sheet, then -- once frozen -- put in a zip-lock freezer bag.

          1. p
            pobo Jan 15, 2009 02:21 PM

            I make a lot of soups and have no difficulty freezing any of them except those with milk/cream. In that case, I make the base and freeze that, add the milk/cream fresh when I heat it up.

            3 Replies
            1. re: pobo
              greygarious Jan 15, 2009 03:09 PM

              I agree with pobo - no problem with freezing vegetables and pasta or rice soups. Those with small pieces of potato are okay - but I find that stews containing big pieces of potato don't go well being frozen. When thawed and reheated, the potatoes are mushy and watery at the same time. Better to make your stew with enough potato for the initial meal(s) only, freezing any remaining potato-less stew and cooking spuds separately, then adding to the thawed/reheated stew.

              As for mirepoix, you can freeze it either raw or cooked. I have always bought marked-down bell peppers whenever I see them, dicing and freezing the good parts in containers or baggies. Serendipitously, a couple fo years ago I discovered the benefits of freezing onions. I went a little overboard in slicing a big bag of onions for soup. Knowing I'd have no use for them in the coming week, I froze them. Next use was when pan-grilling burgers - I put them in the pan straight from the freezer. They cooked much faster than fresh-sliced, without scorching. Freezing breaks down the cell walls, so the water in the vegetable evaporates faster than fresh-cut. I now routinely keep some frozen sliced/diced onions and shredded cabbage in bags in the freezer. I have a friend who buys diced onions in the frozen vegetable aisle and her ice cubes always taste of them. But the freezer baggies don't leach odors. It's a Murphy's Law kitchen corollary that the less time you have, the more stubbornly your onion resists peeling. So it is easier for me to spend an hour prepping a 5# bag of onions for the freezer, and knowing that they are instantly available, than to get out a cutting board and knife and fight with the peel when all I want is a handful of chopped onion. It seems to me that the flavor of a frozen onion is mellower, another benefit.

              1. re: greygarious
                r
                Rafie Jan 30, 2009 06:29 AM

                Great advice - thanks!

                1. re: greygarious
                  l
                  LJS Jan 30, 2009 12:26 PM

                  Yes, I know that lady with the oniony ice cubes, too...in fact, I used to be her!

                  The trick with freezing onions in zip-lock bags is to give a nice soapy rinse and dry to the bags AFTER the onions are safely tucked inside.

              2. l
                likescrab Jan 15, 2009 01:01 PM

                i wouldn't freeze any soup with veggies or pasta or rice in it, they'd go all mushy. I routinely make stock of any kind, freeze in ice cube trays, transfer to a freezer bag and just pull out stock as needed. That was you can make a soup anytime you like and also have that little amount you so often need.

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