Why Frozen Citrus Juice Is The Perfect Flavor Hack For Soups

We've all made a soup that turned out slightly bland. Whether your soup was canned or homemade, you may have ended up at the final stages of cooking, tasted it with a spoon, and felt disappointed by a forgettable flavor. Even soups that cook for a long time, such as chicken tortilla soup or slow cooker minestrone soup, may still call for a little extra oomph at the end after the flavors have melded together all afternoon.

Toppings are an easy way to jazz up a simple soup, of course. We recommend avocado, cilantro, and tortilla strips for chicken tortilla soup and some grated parm for minestrone. But before you even get there, there's an easy way to give your dish a little extra something first — and it involves frozen citrus juice. There are a few reasons why you should always include an acidic component in soup, and freezing juice may be one of the easiest make-ahead methods that will render your cooking process more efficient. How exactly does this hack work?

Frozen citrus juice is an efficient way to add a brightening and balanced flavor to your soup

Even if you're not making a soup where citrus is the star of the show, adding orange, lemon, or lime juice can brighten up your dish and enhance the flavors of the other ingredients. Especially if you've accidentally oversalted your soup, a splash of citrus juice may be just the thing it needs to balance out the saltiness. And if you're making a citrus-focused pot like lemon chicken orzo soup, this hack will be especially useful.

Bottled juice will most likely be less flavorful than the fresh stuff, so this is where having a batch of lemons on hand proves helpful and convenient. However, it can be tedious to squeeze them all individually when you're in the middle of cooking. To make sure you have a steady supply of juice when you need it, try freezing it ahead of time. 

Here's what to do: Squeeze the juice from your entire bag of lemons, then carefully pour it into an ice cube tray. When it's time to cook, all you have to do is pop an ice cube of citrus juice out of the tray and throw it right in your soup, where it will melt and spread all its acidic goodness and bright flavor. And to make this extra handy, place the tray in a plastic bag and label it with the type of juice or how much you have left over — this way, you'll never be left guessing.