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Can I freeze soup in a pot (I believe it's made of stainless steel)? Are there any health risks? Is there any risk of damage to the pot?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The possible risks I can think of are (1) the large thermal mass may mean that the soup cools off too slowly, leading to spoilage in the middle, and (2) freezer burn on the top of the soup, because there's no truly effective way to seal out air from a pot. In practice, (1) is unlikely unless you're talking about a 25-gallon pot or something, in which case it wouldn't fit in an ordinary freezer anyway. (2) on the other hand will be a problem, unless you're only freezing the soup for a short period.

The only risk to the pot is that it may not quite fit in the freezer comfortably, so as people take things out and put things in, they may shove the pot about and maybe break a handle or something.

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thanks. it's only overnight, and we duct-taped the pot closed to minimize freezer burn –  clueless Feb 9 '12 at 22:35
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@clueless: why are you freezing for overnight storage? –  derobert Feb 10 '12 at 0:35
    
@Marti: If you press plastic wrap to the surface of the soup, that'll keep most of the air out. –  derobert Feb 10 '12 at 0:36
    
@derobert: most plastic wraps are very bad at preventing freezer burn even if you completely wrap something in it. The plastic itself is insufficiently impermeable, or something. You can do makeshift things like covering the plastic wrap with aluminum foil, but nothing is going to be as effective as just using a container designed for the freezer. –  Marti Feb 10 '12 at 1:22
    
@Marti: Depends on what the plastic wrap is made of. LDPE ones (GladWrap, Saran Permium) are impermeable; PVC ones (Stretch-Tite, Freeze-Tite, Reynolds) are not. cooksillustrated.com/equipment/results.asp?docid=18682 ... (sorry, paywall). You could also use freezer paper. –  derobert Feb 10 '12 at 1:37

If it's stainless, there should be no health or other problem. But you will lose your pot for the duration of the freezing.

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There are no health safety risks with storing food in a stainless steel, or most other cooking pot metals for that mater

The pot should be fine, but there is always a risk with metal in a freezer in that bare skin contact may freeze to it. Also other products in freezer bags may even freeze to it

In general it's easier not to use metal containers in the freezer, unless enamelled or plastic coated

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good point, thanks! I'll make sure nothing is touching it, and be careful when removing it –  clueless Feb 9 '12 at 22:38

Water expands when it freezes. That has a small risk of damaging the pot (though, it'll likely expand upwards instead—do not fill to the top). E.g., this can cause glass jars to break. Metal is more flexible though (and you have a very wide "mouth" on the pot).

But I'm unsure why you'd ever want to do this.

Freezing in disposable hot-beverage cups (the non-styrofoam type that coffee is served in) is a much better option. First, its a single serving per cup, so you can easily pull one serving out of the freezer. Second, they're microwavable.

To freeze in disposable cup:

  1. Ladle soup into cup
  2. Once cooled to reasonable temperature (say, 140°F), place piece of plastic wrap over top, pressed down over soup to remove all air
  3. Put lid on (which will hold down the plastic wrap).
  4. Freeze
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agreed. I cool in ice bath and transfer into a couple of my larger "tupperware" (rubbermaid) containers. this minimizes freezer burn and keeps the pot free. not sure it's worth the effort for overnight, for that I'd just refrigerate the pot. –  zanlok Feb 10 '12 at 20:24

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