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How Long Is Lentil Soup Good For?

How Long Is Lentil Soup Good For?

From fridge to freezer, we’re dishing up the lowdown on how to keep your lentil soup fresh and ready for those cold autumn days.

Lentil soup: this humble and yet hearty potage is the ultimate solace for those brisk autumn evenings, or when you’re in need of a wholesome, plant-powered pick-me-up.

Its satisfying blend of lentils, vegetables, and aromatic spices creates a culinary symphony that’s not only incredibly delectable but also chock-full of nutritional benefits.

Yet, as delicious as lentil soup is, you might not always manage to finish a whole batch in one sitting (though trust me, I’ve given it a try!). The question then arises—just how long is lentil soup good for? Does it deepen in flavor as it sits, or does it lose its charm once it has been left to cool?

And when it comes to storage, what is the best way to keep lentil soup? Can it be safely nestled in the refrigerator or even dare to be frozen? If these questions are bubbling up in your head, we’ve stewed up this article just for you.

How Long Lentil Soup Lasts

How long lentil soup lasts depends on how you store it.

Generally, if you leave lentil soup out, it will only stay good for 1 to 2 hours. When refrigerated, it can last for 3 to 4 days. And if you freeze it, it will maintain its quality for about 3 to 4 months.

Left Out: 1–2 Hours

If you leave lentil soup at room temperature, it can last for about 2 hours. However, on hot days when it’s 90°F (32°C) or higher, lentil soup only stays good for about 1 hour.1United States Department of Agriculture (2023, March 24). What is the “2 Hour Rule” with leaving food out? AskUSDA. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/What-is-the-2-Hour-Rule-with-leaving-food-out

Refrigerated: 3–4 Days

If you keep lentil soup in the fridge, at a temperature of 40°F (4.4°C) or below, and store it in a jar, food container, or the original bottle or carton in case you bought it from the store, it will last for about 3 to 4 days.2U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2021, September 20). Cold Food Storage Chart. FoodSafety.gov. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/cold-food-storage-charts

Frozen: 4–6 Months

Technically speaking, you can keep frozen lentil soup for as long as you want because freezing pauses the growth of bacteria.3U.S. Department of Agriculture (2013, June 15). Freezing and Food Safety. Food Safety & Inspection Service. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/freezing-and-food-safety With that being said, it is best to eat it within 4 to 6 months to enjoy it at its freshest and highest quality.

Keeping Lentil Soup Fresh

Lentil soup tastes best when it’s warm and chunky. If you’re not planning to chow down on your lentil soup right away, you have to know how to store it properly so it keeps tasting great and doesn’t go sour on you.

Here’s how you do it:

Keeping Lentil Soup in the Fridge

First up, dump your lentil soup into a clean container that you can seal tight. Glass jars work great, but if you don’t have any of those, any food storage container with a snug lid will do the job. Then chuck it in the fridge.

Aim to eat the lentil soup up within 3-4 days. The coldness in the fridge puts the brakes on the bacteria that make food go off, but it can’t stop it completely.

Freezing Lentil Soup

If you’ve cooked up a big pot of lentil soup and can’t polish it off within a couple of days, or you want to stash some for a rainy day, then freezing is the way to go. Again, you’ll need a clean container with a tight lid that can handle the chill of the freezer.

Leave about an inch of space at the top of the container because the soup will expand when it freezes. This could take a few hours. When you’re ready to eat it, shift the frozen lentil soup into the fridge about a day beforehand.

And that’s all there is to it—lentil soup is a breeze to store and it’s always a treat to have some ready for those crisp evenings or when your stomach’s growling.

Paying a little attention when you’re storing it guarantees each bowl is as good as the first one, so don’t skip these steps!

How to Tell If Your Lentil Soup Has Gone Off

So, you’ve discovered a forgotten container of lentil soup lurking in the back of your fridge?

Or maybe you’re just scratching your head, unsure if it’s still edible? Like any chow, lentil soup can turn funky if left uneaten for too long, and believe me, spoiled lentil soup is not a fun ride.

Here are some telltale signs your lentil soup might have gone bad:

  • Time: If your lentil soup’s been out in the open for more than 1-2 hours or hanging out in the fridge for over 3-4 days, it’s safer to ditch it, even if it appears fine. The bacteria that make us ill don’t really change the way our food looks, tastes, or feels.4Jarvie, M. (2015, October 22). Food spoilage and food pathogens, what’s the difference? MSU Extension. Retrieved July 20, 2023, from https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/food_spoilage_and_food_pathogens_whats_the_difference
  • Smell: Fresh lentil soup has a pleasant, hearty aroma. If you pop open your container and get a whiff of something gross or off-putting, it’s time to bid your soup farewell.
  • Color: Good lentil soup usually sports a warm, appealing color from the lentils and veggies. If the color’s turned darker or just looks odd, play it safe and give it the boot.
  • Texture: Lentil soup should have a thick, rich broth with chunks of lentils and vegetables. If it’s slimy or overly thick, your soup might be past its prime.
  • Taste: This should be your last line of defense. If your lentil soup passes the other checks but tastes bad or sour, it’s time to say adios.

Remember, when in doubt, throw it out! It’s always wiser to put safety first. Lentil soup is a cinch to make, so why take chances?

Just whip up a new batch and savor the warm, robust flavors of this timeless comfort food. (And check out my Spanish lentil stew recipe while you’re at it!)

Wrapping It All Up

And that’s the scoop, home chefs!

This is your ultimate guide to not just savoring this scrumptious, heart-warming soup, but also ensuring it stays as fresh as the day you cooked it for each and every bowlful.

Keep in mind, whether you’re tucking your lentil soup in the fridge or the freezer, maintaining its freshness for those crisp nights is a breeze if you stick to the straightforward storage steps we’ve shared.

And remember, if your lentil soup seems a bit sketchy—whether in smell, color, texture, or taste—it’s always safer to bid it goodbye.

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Dim is a food writer, cookbook author, and the editor of Home Cook World. His first book, Cooking Methods & Techniques, was published in 2022. He is a certified food handler with Level 1 and Level 2 Certificates in Food Hygiene and Safety for Catering, and a trained cook with a Level 3 Professional Chef Diploma.

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