Soup is like a nice warm hug from an old friend on a cold and rainy day. It's just so homely and wholesome.
They're probably the ultimate comfort food, especially during chilly winters or when you're craving some tummy pleasing fluid after a long hard day.
Soups are not only delicious but also very nutritious. A well-made soup with fresh veggies and maybe some chicken or fish broth can do wonders for your health. If you have a cold or are feeling a little jittery, soups are the way to go.
But hold your horses before stocking up on soup. If you want to get the best out of your soup, you need to know how long they can stay around before going bad.
So how long does soup last? Well, let's find out.
How Long Does Soup Last? Does Soup Go Bad?
Soup does eventually go bad over time. The shelf life of soup depends on a number of factors; temperature, how well you store it, whether or not your soup is cooked, or whether your soup is all homemade or manufactured.
It also depends on the kind of ingredients you put in it, whether it's just vegetables or even meat.
Storing in a cool, dry place is ideal for uncooked manufactured soup mixes. We're talking about powdered soup packages. They can last for as good as 2 years if stored well. Vegetable-based soup mixes will last longer than meat-based.
Manufactured powdered soup packages and canned soup have a 'use before' or 'best by' date. The US Food and Drug Administration highly recommends consumers to abide by the 'use before' or 'best by' dates to maintain food safety.
The dates are estimated for your convenience, keeping in mind what's in your soup, so that's something to take advantage of.
As for the canned soup, if unopened and stored well, it can last for about 2-5 years.
In fact, because of the long shelf-life of canned soup, renowned soup manufacturers, Campbell's, do not print a 'best before' date for those of their products that can last for more than two years.
You may store them in a refrigerator or freezer to maximize shelf-life.
Soups made at home with fresh ingredients have a different shelf-life. They do not last as long as packaged or canned soup because of the absence of preservatives and processed ingredients.
According to marthastewart.com, a homemade soup may last for a maximum of 5 days.
Vegetable-based soups with acidic ingredients like tomatoes are said to last longer, while meat-based soups may make it only to the 3-day mark. Freezing homemade soup will help you maximize shelf-life.
However, BBC Good Food suggests that you avoid reheating soup more than once to prevent health risks.
How to Tell if Soup is Bad?
The signs of bad soup differ based on the type of soup. They go bad either because it's past their shelf-life or because you haven't stored them properly. Whatever the cause, here are some ways you can tell if your soup has gone bad.
Packaged powdered soup mixes once inedible show signs of discoloration and change in texture. You may find them greyish because of the growth of mold in the mix.
If there's no apparent discoloration, another sign of a bad soup mix is extra lumpiness while cooking.
Canned soup, when gone bad, has a distinct acidic smell. They also have an unusually slimy and slippery texture.
Moreover, you can often tell when a can of soup is bad just by looking at the can. What you'll notice is a bulging of the can or corrosion on the lid.
Bulging and corrosion of a soup can happen when your soup is left beyond its expiry date or when you leave it exposed to the elements.
The bulging is often caused by bacteria and yeast that release harmful gases, which make the can swell.
As for a homemade vegetable-based soup, once it's gone bad, you'll notice that it's a little cloudier than usual.
It's also going to give off a putrid smell, which is a sure sign that it's gone bad. The same goes for meat-based soup. It's going to look cloudy and moldy and have a foul smell.
Do not consume if any of these signs show.
Soups are some of the most versatile food items out there. You can get creative with them and come up with a variety of healthy and delicious recipes.
Healthline contributor Anna Shafer lists 14 nutritious soup recipes from all over the world. You best head there for killer soup recommendations.
Whatever the soup recipes are, make sure your ingredients are still fresh and safe to eat. A healthy diet is one that will benefit not only your physical health but also your mental and emotional. Be a conscious consumer and reap all the benefits of healthy food.