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Nov 15, 2009 06:30 PM

If you frequently make large amounts of soup, where do you store it overnight? worries about leaching?

I have a T-fal pressure cooker (belive it's out of stock now--i bought it on clearance at Sears a few yrs ago). I use to make chicken soup to ward off disease this season :) I've been storing it overnight (for several days) in this same pot, I refrigerate the whole this a no-no? I do have pyrex, but it is taken up with other stuff. (busy mo coking ahead for a whole week!). Thanks for any thoughts. I worry often about stuff leaching into food, so I hope I don't have another problem in my hands.

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  1. If we are talking long term storage, you want ziplock baggies. Choose the size that is right for a serving for your crew, fill up the bags, and freeze 'em flat. Then you can store them in your freezer like file folders.

    Short term storage I have a large tupperware container, it holds nearly a full pot of soup and it goes in my fridge with no problem.

    You don't want to keep chicken soup in the fridge for more than a few days though - it'll go bad no matter what it is stored in.

    Get that stuff into the freezer.

    1. Well, I agree with tzurriz, in terms of getting extra soup (or stock) into the freezer as soon as possible, but generally it will spend its first night in the refrigerator--first, to really cool it down before adding it to the freezer and, second, so that i can defat it.

      I make my soups and stock in either stainless or enameled CI pots, so I have no problem with leaving it in those for the first night, since neither are reactive. And then for freezing, again like tzurriz, I store it in plastic freezer bags.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Normandie

        Thanks. I don't mean for freezing, just refrigerating for 2-3 days while it is slowly eaten...

        1. re: madteaparty30

          Two or three days? Just pour it into anything you have that's the right size. Refrigerate, reheat and eat.

          1. re: madteaparty30

            I would remove it if the pot is aluminum but otherwise, not a problem, nor is 2-3 days.
            But if you put a big pot of warm soup into the fridge you will be warming up everything else, possibly encouraging spoilage, not to mention wasting electricity. As posted on other threads, it is best to put the pot in a sink full of cold water or to submerge a container of ice (I keep a Rubbermaid container of water, frozen solid, in the freezer for this purpose) in the hot liquid. Otherwise, ladle it into smaller containers which will cool faster.

              1. re: thew

                If the interior is plain aluminum, it can impart a metallic taste, especially if the food is acidic (OP refers to chicken soup, in which case it's not as much of an issue as fruit or tomato dishes). If I made applesauce in the plain aluminum pot I inherited, the interior would get so shiny it looked like I had polished it. Took me a few years to realize that maybe this wasn't a good idea....

              2. re: greygarious

                This is not just a problem for the other things in the fridge, it is a problem for the soup itself. The soup should not remain above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for longer than 4 hours. A big pot of hot soup will take far longer than than to cool down, especially at the center, which could lead to the profusion of dangerous bacteria. You make some good recommendations. Another, which food sanitarians endorse, is to transfer the food to shallow pans. The large surface area of the pans, combined with the low height, allows for much more rapid cooling.

              3. re: madteaparty30

                I just pour it into mason jars. And if you leave a couple of inches you can even freeze them. (Cool them in the fridge first) They fit more comfortably in the fridge than a large pan with a handle and do not spill.

                The SO likes stainless steel and glass for storage. So I use mason jars for lots of stuff. If you do start using them get a canning funnel:

                1. re: Paulustrious

                  I use mason jars for everything, but just be aware, this year I had 5 new and carefully checked jars bust in the freezer or in the canner. I don't know if the quality has gone downhill or what, but if it was soup I was truly proud of, I might hesitate to freeze in a mason jar. (Can you tell a few things just broke my heart?)

                  1. re: Vetter

                    I've broken two in the canner, but so far have been lucky about the freezer. I haven't bought a mason jar in years so I cannot comment on quality. Replenishments for breakages, 'gifts' etc come from soups etc that I buy in shops. I would use my traditional yoghurt pot but my SO is seriously anti-plastic. She thinks BPA is short for Ban Plastic Anything.

                    1. re: Paulustrious

                      So much for my luck - just found a broken mason jar. I withdraw my previous advice - don't put them in the freezer.

            1. I'm not sure why I feel this way, but I would not refrigerate the soup in the pressure cooker. I would use Tupperware or Rubbermaid for storage. Reheat in a pan on the stove, or in a bowl in the micro. Other posters are right about not putting a large hot mass in the fridge. Isn't it hard to take the loaded pressure cooker out of the fridge without spillage? Doesn't it take up a lot of room?

              1. Go to a restaurant supply house - buy some Cambro containers and lids. They sell them in all sizes.. 2 qt and up. I have several 2 and 4 qt, the clear polycarb round and square varieties (there is an opaque plastic style as well). They aren't that expensive, are stackable, are food safe of course, and can take a beating - high heat, freezing, etc.

                BTW - soup should be chilled before letting it anywhere near a fridge or freezer. If you live in a cold area, in winter just set it outside. Otherwise, get some of the polycarb drinking bottles (the clear ones without BPA), put some water inside, freeze them, and dump them into the soup to chill it down. Or at least let it rest in an icewater bath to get it down somewhat quickly - 40 to 140 is the danger zone for food. A big pot of hot soup will pull your refrigerator up above 40deg easily.

                11 Replies
                1. re: grant.cook

                  Just one note of caution, grant. I agree with you re not putting a hot or warm pot into the refrigerator, but posters who live in colder climates with any kind of wild life nearby should NEVER leave food outside, even (or maybe, "especially") close to the house. Rodents, raccoons (which have a high incidence of rabies in some regions of the country), raptors, deer, coyote and bear are problematic when attracted to human food or garbage. Be especially careful if you have pets and live in an area with coyotes, so as not to put your pets at risk. And be mindful that many busy suburban areas, where you might not think this would be a problem, are populated now with raccoons, deer and coyote. If you live near wildlife, cool the soup inside, for your own safety, your neighbors', and the animals'.

                  1. re: Normandie

                    Yes, I do concur on that.... there is a bit of caution required. I use my well lit back porch, visible from the kitchen, with the thing covered... and I am mainly talking about those freezing days in winter, when you can get a LOT of heat transfer really quickly..

                    1. re: grant.cook

                      We definitely agree on your main point, which is not to risk the safety and integrity of the entire refrigerator and its contents by raising the temperature into the risk zone and beyond when we suddenly add a big, hot container of something. So thanks for taking my post in the spirit it was keep other risks low, too. ;-)

                  2. re: grant.cook

                    I would agree with the commercial grade polycarb food storage container,,,,,not the white ones. The PC versions are clear and you can always see what is in them without having to remove the covers. Also, the clear PC's are good for tomato sauces and do not stain.

                    Myself, I save the plastic soup containers from soup ordered at Chinese restaurants or Take-Out's. They make good portion controls servings, i.e., pints or quarts, and if I do not get to eat them in a short period of time as anticipated, I can move them directly into the freezer.

                    1. re: fourunder

                      And the Cambro containers have lots of other uses - I use my 4 qt varieties for monitoring dough rise and for brining pork...

                    2. re: grant.cook

                      Hey! Are those Cambro's the sort of clear, rigid plastic containers that Alton Brown is always using to brine and marinate stuff? I've wanted some of those for years, but the regular stores never seem to have that very rigid, clear plastic in BIG sizes...everything's more "rubbery" and/or smaller. If anyone has a link where I can buy some, I'd be grateful.

                      (Now returning you to your regularly scheduled thread ;-)

                        1. re: Beckyleach

                          Yep, that's a lot of what you see him using.. I find them in most restaurant stores.. you can order them from some of the online restaurant places - here's one link I found..never dealt with them, though, so can't critique them..


                          They do make them big (of course, more expensive).. up to like 22qt, which is a lot of space..

                          1. re: grant.cook

                            Hah! Yeah! You both made me (and my teenaged daughter who cooks) really happy today. Consider it your good deed. Thanks.

                            1. re: Beckyleach

                              Just remember to buy lids.. the square ones are to some extent interchangeable, mostly (green square lid fits both 2qt and 4qt, e.g.). I think my round ones are different radii, so unique lids for 2qt and 4qt.

                              1. re: Beckyleach

                                And Amazon's price appears rather high.. these things were well less than $10 a piece, if I recall, even from online restaurant sites..

                        2. No scientist here but I'd be just about as concerned about storage of food in any kind of plastic as in aluminum, so I think it makes little or no difference. When I make a lot of soup and need to keep it refrigerated in a pot I usually put it in an enamel stock pot or dutch oven (depending on the size) or stainless steel. But if all I had was aluminum, I'd use it. I think the jury's out on all that stuff.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Nyleve

                            I haven't seen any studies concluding negative effects from long term use of clear polycarb and trust me - a lot of what you eat in a restaurant has been stored in it. Step into a restaurant's walk-in storage and you are going to see a lot of plastic..... ask how your local organic vegan bake-shop stores its flour, salt, and sugar, and yes, its probably in plastic.

                            But if there are a preponderance of facts indicting clear polycarb, please give us the links. Concern about storage is the beginning of a hypothesis.. facts about storage are what should be helpful - the jury can't be out until some evidence has been produced... this jury is still sitting there going "We supposed to be doing something here?" These vague "whoa.. plastic.. scary" comments rank up there with the "lets not give our kids any vaccines" paranoia floating around..

                            1. re: grant.cook

                              You're extrapolating. First of all, yes, of course you're right - restaurants store in plastic. Same goes for just about every single prepared ingredient a person can buy in the supermarket. I am no fanatic. I buy some of these things. But if I'm storing stuff at home, I transfer liquids to glass containers and have begun to replace my plastic tupperware-ish things with glass. Why? My gut feeling - unscientific, as it may be - is that I like glass or metal better and that plastics - all plastics - are still something of an unknown in the long term. Truth be told, I don't eat out a lot and I buy very few prepared foods. Is it possible that polycarbonate is perfectly inert and fine? Yes. But most plastic contaniers are NOT polycarbonate and I swear there are times, with some foods, that I can TASTE the plastic.

                              I was not trying to incite paranoia, any more than the original poster who was asking about storing soup in a T-fal pressure cooker. These questions are legitimate, as are the concerns about what, in fact, is happening to our food when it sits in contact with the aforementioned materials. There is another thread floating around this board that deals with aluminum cookware. It also raises concerns - some of may or may not have been debunked. I think we need to be suspicious.

                              For the record, I have vaccinated my children and my pets.

                              1. re: Nyleve

                                But there are nuggets of truth there, points that can be useful, versus a generalization "I stay away from plastic."

                                Restaurant takeout-containers, for example, are food safe for their intended use - you bring stuff home, eat it, and then throw them away... but I don't think they are designed for long-term food storage or a microwave or dishwasher heating cycle - so people might not want to use them as reuseable storage for an extended period.

                                I am big fan of suspicions to drive investigation, but too many of these arguments circle around half-truths, mis-quotes, innuendo, or one set of facts given high-status while other facts are ignored.

                                If you are putting things into glass because you can taste the plastic, that's your perogative.. but its not scientific. A recent study showed people thought a $90 bottle of wine tasted better than a $10 bottle - but what was in their glasses? The same wine! You might taste the plastic because you mind sees the plastic - the same way I felt ill one afternoon after eating tripe soup. Tripe actually wasn't bad, but I knew what it was.. and that got to me.

                                If you want a control, make something you eat regularly, place portions an even mix of 8-10 glass and plastic containers, let it sit for a day in the fridge, and then have someone ELSE prepare them for you out of sight..have them leave the room so they can't clue you in.. and see if you can tell the difference in a statistically valid way.

                                1. re: grant.cook

                                  I can taste plastic in some, not all, foods. This may have to do with the type of food and how it reacts to the specific plastic; it may have to do with the plastic itself; it may have to do with the temperature at which the food was placed in the plastic container or how it was stored. I don't have the time to do an exhaustive, controlled study of this. I know what I know and I'm ok with it. I am not fanatical about it and I don't proselytize. We all live in our own comfort zones.

                                  Look, for years, I stored my leftovers in plastic containers - all sorts of them, recycled or not. My husband insisted on nuking his lunch in these containers. I suggested he not do this. What can I say? - He's a slow learner. So I now store in glass or metal and he can do what he wants. Do I know he was adversely affected by the microwaved plastic? Nope. But call me a fringe lunatic - I feel like I've reduced one possible hazard in my world. Ten zillion to go.

                                  1. re: Nyleve

                                    Not many people realise that lead and ceramic are dangerous. They often contain lead, and other metals. In fact there was a study of the leaching of lead into wine.

                                    Yuck. They taste nasty.