Why You Should Undercook Vegetables In Soup You Plan To Freeze

One of the best things you can meal prep for a busy month is a large pot of soup. Whether it's a homey classic like chicken noodle, or a fall favorite like beef and barley, a portioned and frozen batch of soup is the trusty meal you can turn to again and again. But there's a slight catch when meal-prepping this versatile dish for the freezer. Those tender veggies, particularly the moist potatoes and carrots, you have dotting the surface have the tendency to go mushy and grainy after you reheat them straight from the freezer. 

Thankfully, there is a way to get around this annoying spongy by-product that lies in the cooking time for your vegetables. Instead of cooking your celery and corn to ideal tenderness, underdo them slightly, so that when you reheat them after their time in the freezer, they'll be able to cook a little further without turning into a gloopy mess. 

How to use this tip for your next meal prep session with soup

To kick it off, decide whether you want to make all of the soup for the freezer or for half to be eaten now, and half frozen for a later date. If the entirety of the soup is destined to be frozen, you'll proceed with the recipe as normal, only making sure to remove the soup from the heat a good five to 10 minutes before the potatoes, carrots, and other starchy vegetables are ready. If you want to freeze only half, ladle out half of the broth into containers with the undercooked veggies before the soup is finished. You'll then cook the other half as directed. 

Keep in mind that different vegetables have different cooking times. Carrots and potatoes may take a good bit longer to soften up, peas and green beans need half that amount of time. So consider staggering the order of when you add in your different varieties. This is particularly true when adding in leafy greens, like spinach or kale, as they should be added just before the broth is pulled from the heat to keep their texture. With this timing in mind, you'll never suffer from a soup with mushy veggies ever again.