The Soup File
When you're making soup, consider doubling the recipe for quick meals from your freezer later in the season. Here's my best tip—create a soup file! Instead of freezing soup in hard plastic containers or canning jars (which take hours to thaw), ladle it into heavy-duty zippered freezer bags, either gallon or quart size, depending on the size of your family. Label the bags before filling with soup. Carefully remove all the air when zipping securely closed, lay the bags flat on a cookie sheet, and freeze until firm. When frozen, the bags can be stored upright in a plastic bin. If you double-up every time, eventually you'll have a “file” of soups you can easily flip through to find just what you're looking for. Because these bags of soup are so thin, they can be thawed in about ten minutes in a sink of hot water.
This method can be used for many other foods. My file currently holds homemade grape and raspberry juices, a variety of cooked beans, roasted tomato and pepper sauce, lentil stew, chicken stock, and purées of butternut squash and pumpkin. Important note: when freezing soups that include milk or cream, freeze the soup base before adding the dairy products. After thawing, stir in the milk or cream and heat gently to serving temperature.