Serving Soup -- Safely

Alice Henneman, MS, RD, UNL Extension in Lancaster County
Questions or comments? Email author, Alice Henneman

bowl of soupWhat could be simpler than supping on a big, steaming bowl of soup. A hearty soup -- made with veggies and meat, poultry, fish or dried beans -- can be the main dish for your meal. Add some crackers or breadsticks on the side and perhaps fruit for dessert and you're ready to eat!

Make a large batch of soup and enjoy some for another meal. Many soups, with the possible exception of seafood soups, may taste better the next day! For best safety and quality, plan to eat refrigerated soup within 3 to 4  days or freeze it. And avoid letting soup set at room temperature for more than TWO hours.

Don't put a large pot of hot soup directly into your refrigerator. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it would take an 8-inch stock pot of steaming chicken soup 24 HOURS to cool to a safe temperature in your refrigerator. To be safe:

  • To speed cooling, transfer soup to shallow containers, making sure soup is no more than TWO inches deep. Refrigerate promptly. You can place loosely covered foods in the refrigerator while still warm; cover when food is completely cooled.
     
  • When serving soup a second time, reheat it until it's steaming hot throughout, at least 165 F.
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