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Cooling soup safely  Smart Choices Archive

Cooling soup safely

Follow these tips to safely cooling soup.


Even though spring is coming, it’s still chilly enough to enjoy a dinner of soup simmering on the stove or in the slow cooker. It’s also easy to make a batch large enough to provide leftovers for lunch or another dinner later in the week. And as we’ve all been told by experts, it’s important to get the leftovers refrigerated as soon as possible after cooking to avoid the potential for bacterial growth leading to food poisoning.

The Good Housekeeping Institute warns consumers that cooling hot soup is not as easy as popping the pan into the refrigerator as soon as it’s removed from the stove. Studies run by the institute, reported in the November 2011 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, found that it can take a dangerously long time for soup to cool.

Study highlights

  • When one-gallon batches of soup were stored in the fridge, it took up to 16 hours for soup to cool to safe temperatures; during this time, milk in the fridge warmed up to 50 degrees F.
  • Even when the soup was stored in smaller, one-quart containers, it took up to 19 hours to cool down to 40 degrees F. Refrigerator temperatures spiked as high as 70 degrees during this time.
  • The study also included cooling soup in an ice-water bath before refrigerating and cooling the refrigerator before placing the soup into it.

Recommendations from Good Housekeeping:

  • When you start cooking the soup, turn your fridge temp down to the lowest setting to prepare it for a heavy-duty chore.
  • Put containers of hot soup into a sink filled with ice water for about 30 minutes before placing in the refrigerator.
  • Clear the top refrigerator shelf of perishables and place the soup there, because hot air rises.
  • Reheat the soup thoroughly by boiling and stirring it for several minutes before serving.

Find more about the Good Housekeeping Institute

Source: Good Housekeeping

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