Some may consider soup to be the ultimate comfort food. The aroma of simmering soup tempts us with the promise of warmth and satisfaction. Whether soup starts an elegant meal or is served as a meal by itself, it is very versatile with countless combinations.

Becky Reid

Reid

Incorporating vegetables in soup is an easy way to consume more vegetables, especially if you don’t get enough vegetables in your diet.

The 2015-20 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming a variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups — dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starches, and others.

Barley, brown rice and other whole grains also are great in soups, adding fiber and nutrients.

I enjoy making a large batch of soup so I can enjoy some for another meal.

Many soups, with the possible exception of seafood soups, may taste better the next day!

For safety and quality, plan to eat refrigerated soup within two days. Freeze soup in individual containers for an easy meal option.

To speed cooling, transfer soup to shallow containers, making sure the soup is no more than 2 inches deep.

Adding ice might be an option, but use your best judgement so as not to water down the taste. Another method to cool hot soup is by putting the soup pot into a sink full of cold water. Stir every 10 minutes to help to dissipate the heat and then refrigerate.

Never put a large pot of hot soup directly into a refrigerator, since the hot liquid could raise the temperature of the refrigerator.

Refrigerators are set to keep food below 40 degrees Fahrenheit to keep pathogens from multiplying.

(Pathogens love to grow in temperatures between 40 and 135 degrees. We call it the danger zone. If pathogens had brains, they would call it the party zone.)

Controlling time and temperature is the easiest way to decrease pathogen growth (and keep your food safe).

Your goal is to have the soup cool from 140 degrees to 70 degrees in two hours and from 70 degrees to 40 degrees in no more than four hours.

Enjoy your favorite soup today!

Source: Karen Blakeslee, Rapid Response Center Coordinator, K-State Research and Extension.

This information was provided by K-State Research and Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Specialist Becky Reid.