HOW TO COOL SOUP SAFELY?
Cooking up a large pot of your favorite soup, stew or chili is a great way to plan for quick meals at home. The way you cool and store these large amounts of food can make all the difference between keeping food safe and prolong its shelflife or the growth of pathogens that can make food unsafe for eating which could lead to foodborne illnesses.
One of the leading causes of foodborne illness is the failure to properly cool foods. The food danger zone is that place between 5ºC and 65ºC where pathogens grow most quickly. It can take a long time to get through the danger zone when cooling a large batch of chili, soup or stew. The soup must cool from 65ºC to 21ºC in 2 hours and from 21ºC to 5ºC in no more than 4 hours.
Follow one of the following options to safely cool your soup.
Use ice water bath
An ice water bath is effective for cooling soups. This method helps decrease the food temperature quickly and safely.
- Fill a large container or clean sink with ice and a small amount of water.
- Place the kettle of soup into the ice bath.
- Stir the soup to release heat and aid cooling.
Use shallow pans
The smaller the portions, the quicker the cool down.
- Divide the large batches into small containers, no deeper than 3 inches.
- Stir occasionally to aid cooling.
Use ice in the recipe
You can reduce cooling time by adapting your soup recipe.
- Prepare a thicker soup, reducing the original amount of water or liquid called for in the recipe.
- Add ice to the soup at the final preparation step.
Once cooled to 21ºC, by using one of the above rapidly cooling options, you can place the container of soup in the refrigerator. Place on the top shelf. Leave uncovered until cooled to 5ºC. Consume or freeze leftovers within 3 days of preparation.
Be proactive about cooling soup. When making a large batch of soup, plan ahead for the cooling method you plan to use. Begin your plan by having an accurate food thermometer to keep tabs on the temperature during the cooling process.
Share this cool tip with a friend who loves soup or stews.