Storing soup with your freezer

If you bought some of our soups, you received a frozen package (16 oz.) with soup in a bag. This was an ideal packaging system because the soups could be stored more easily in the freezer. We first started by using round plastic deli containers but those took up a lot of space and would not seal perfectly. Whereas, the seal on the plastic bags made the packages leak proof, which is essential for shipping and handling. By having these thinner packages of soups we were able to bundle them more easily into care packages.

Here is an example of one of our soups packaged, sealed, and frozen in a pint-size freezer bag. 

Here is an example of one of our soups packaged, sealed, and frozen in a pint-size freezer bag. 

Our first packaging experiments included plastic pint-size deli containers. These were cute, but wasted a lot of space in storage.

Our first packaging experiments included plastic pint-size deli containers. These were cute, but wasted a lot of space in storage.

Pretty isn't it? This is the pork vinegar soup in a quart size Ball jar. This is an ideal way to store soups you make yourself that you are going to eat within a week.

Pretty isn't it? This is the pork vinegar soup in a quart size Ball jar. This is an ideal way to store soups you make yourself that you are going to eat within a week.

There were several iterations for packaging. We first started with glass and toyed with the possibility of canning. But, since the soups have meat in them the process would have been dangerous and our initial batches were too small to justify finding a processor who would can the soups for us. The soups did look gorgeous in glass, and it was likely that the glass could be reused. However, it just didn't make sense in every way (cost, storage size, durability in shipping and handling, and weight) except perhaps in packaging recycling when compared to plastic bags. 

Freezing the soups allowed us to keep the soups from perishing in the shipping and handling process. Using these bags and sealers to freeze our soups helped us keep the soups from perishing without using other processes or additives. The soup were cooked like they would be at home and frozen in that state until reheated. The freezing had minimal effect on the foods in the soup (they were stewed after all).  The most ideal way to enjoy the soup is hot and straight from the cauldron, which is always possible at the events we attend.

We tried many different kinds of bags and found that FoodSaver Pint Size bags (16 oz.) were the best solution for storing and keeping soup. For one, they are BPA free and they can be microwaved or boiled and once sealed soup could keep for up to a year. We marked use by dates for 6 months after the date the soups were packaged as a cautious assumption of safety for the soups.

At first we used the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer to make our leak proof seal. It is a great tool, but we found that we did not need the vacuum function and that an impulse sealer provided a quicker seal in packaging the soups. The fancy FoodSaver is still useful for sealing non-soup foods like marinating meat or preserving the last tomatoes of the summer... we never stopped using it at home. But we did move on to an ULine Impulse Sealer to package our soups as our production increased.

Here is my beloved ULine Impulse sealer. You have no idea how hard this baby has worked. You can see the stand behind is the bottom of the prototype "bagger" stand which helped hold the bags open when pouring in soup. Credit is due to my husband Andy Schuetz for designing and fabricating the "bagger." Some girls want diamonds. I wanted a bagger... (and diamonds)!

Here is my beloved ULine Impulse sealer. You have no idea how hard this baby has worked. You can see the stand behind is the bottom of the prototype "bagger" stand which helped hold the bags open when pouring in soup. Credit is due to my husband Andy Schuetz for designing and fabricating the "bagger." Some girls want diamonds. I wanted a bagger... (and diamonds)!