Whether you’ve made it fresh or just grabbed a suspicious looking can of tomato soup you’d forgotten about from the back of your kitchen cupboard, it’s important that you know when tomato soup is bad.
Eating food that has gone bad can make you feel pretty sick, and in some cases, it can be quite serious, so it’s always best to check it before you chance it.
Thankfully, this post will tell you everything you need to know about whether the tomato soup you’re thinking about eating for lunch is bad or not, and even provide you with some helpful tips on how to store tomato soup to keep that from happening to begin with.
Ready to find out more? Well, come on then!
Canned Tomato Soup
To start with, we’ll look at canned tomato soup because this is the type of tomato soup you find nestled at the back of the cupboard between the three-year-old packet of rice you never use and the spice you bought one time for that one specific dish you’ve never made again.
Basically, canned tomato soup can be found after years of storing it in the forgotten corners of our kitchens, so it’s important you know what to look out for so you don’t end up eating bad tomato soup.
How To Store Canned Tomato Soup
First, you need to know how to store canned tomato soup correctly. Whilst it’s pretty obvious, there are some conditions that are better for canned soups than others.
Generally, they should be kept in cool, dry, clean places that don’t fluctuate in temperature. That’s why we choose kitchen cupboards.
But did you know you can affect the life of your canned tomato soup if you choose the wrong cabinet?
That’s right! If you have a cupboard next to a hot oven, then temperatures inside can fluctuate a lot, and these fluctuations can make your soup go bad quicker.
Yes, canned soup is airtight, but that doesn’t mean it won’t ever go bad. Keep it in a place that is warm sometimes and cool at other times for long enough, and the contents won’t be fit for consumption when you eventually open it.
If kept properly in a cool, clean, dry place, canned tomato soup can last for years, long after the ‘Best Before’ or ‘Best By’ date.
That’s because these dates are a rough guideline, but have nothing to do with food safety. It’s just an estimate of how long the soup will be at its best – it has nothing to do with when it should go bad.
To know if it’s bad, you’ll need to do a little investigating on your own!
How To Know If Unopened Canned Tomato Soup Is Bad
You’ve probably heard that there’s only one way to know if canned soup is bad and that’s by opening it.
But actually, you could save yourself the disturbing sight and scent of bad soup if you just check the unopened can first.
If you look at your canned tomato soup and notice any damage at all, then it’s time to be concerned.
Even a small dent can pierce the can without you realizing it, exposing the soup to air, which can then allow bacteria to form.
Damaged cans are not a good sign, and if the damage is obvious, then it’s probably best you don’t open the can at all, and just send it straight to the trash!
Another sign that something is seriously wrong with your canned tomato soup is if the can is bulging.
Bacteria and spoiled foods give off gases, which, when left in an airtight container, can force the can to bulge outwards as the gas try’s to escape.
If you notice any bulging in your canned tomato soup, then get rid of it ASAP. Trust us, opening a can like this will put you off soup for life, and nobody wants that, right?
The last thing you can do before opening the can is check for signs of rust.
If your can has rusted, then it’s got wet, and one of the key storage conditions for canned soup is dryness. If there’s rust, you have not stored it correctly and there’s no use opening it.
Besides that, you can’t tell if a canned tomato soup is bad until you open it.
So, even if it’s past its ‘Best By’ or ‘Best Before’ date, it’s still worth opening it up to see if it’s good to eat still.
Any signs of damage or change to the can though, and you don’t need to open it at all. It’s BAD.
How To Know If The Canned Tomato Soup Is Bad Once Open
So you reckon the can is in good shape and you want to open it up to see if the tomato soup is bad or not?
Well, you’ll be able to tell fairly quickly if it has gone bad, so that’s the good news.
The bad news is, if it has gone bad, it’ll be pretty gross. Here’s how to tell!
- LOOK: Your first job is to look at the soup once you’ve opened it. It should be the usual color of canned tomato soup, and there shouldn’t be any signs of mold. If there are any changes in the way it looks compared to usual, then play it safe and throw it out. Signs of mold include flecks of dark matter in the soup, a cloudy layer over the top of the soup, or patches of lighter/darker colors.
- SMELL: Next up is the smell. This is probably the grossest one unless you make it to step 3. If you’ve taken a look at the canned soup and all looks well, then it’s time to get your nose stuck in. It should smell pleasant. Any rancid, spoiled, or sour smell is not usual, and this is a good indication that the soup has gone bad. Discard it without thinking twice about it.
- TASTE: Let’s be really clear on this last point. If it looks or smells bad, then you should NEVER taste it. Doing so can make you sick. But sometimes canned tomato soup can look and smell just fine, but still not be OK for you to eat. Once you’ve warmed it up, take a tentative first taste. If it doesn’t taste like it usually does, then don’t continue eating. Any rancid, sour, or spoiled tasting soup should be disposed of immediately. Eating too much will make you sick.
Fresh Tomato Soup
With fresh tomato soup, things are a little easier. That’s even more true if you’re the one that has made it, because you know exactly when the soup was good, so it’s much easier to know if it’s now bad…
Still, there are a couple of storage options available to you here to extend its life, and there are some key telltale signs that something is amiss too! Stick with us, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know!
How To Store Fresh Tomato Soup
When storing fresh tomato soup, you have two options really: the fridge or the freezer.
Choosing which one is right for you is mostly to do with how soon you plan to eat the leftovers because, in terms of the texture and taste, you won’t notice much difference.
But don’t worry, we’ll cover the length of time you can safely store fresh tomato soup in the fridge or freezer in the sections below, so you can make an informed choice.
In The Fridge
When storing fresh tomato soup in the fridge, make sure you cool it completely after cooking, and then place it into a refrigerator pronto!
Bacteria grow best at room temperature, so getting it into cooler conditions is important. Store it in an airtight container for up to 4 days, but no longer.
Fresh tomato soup in a refrigerator is usually good for 3-4 days, after that, it goes bad.
The ideal temperature for your refrigerator is about 4 degrees Celsius or 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure you set your refrigerator to the right temperature too to extend your soup’s life.
In The Freezer
You get a little longer out of frozen tomato soup. Again, make sure you cool it completely after cooking and place it in an airtight container.
Once you’ve put it in your freezer, don’t open the door again for several hours. Your soup needs time to freeze completely, or else temperature fluctuations may cause bacteria to form.
And nobody wants to waste time freezing bad soup, do they? Once completely frozen, you can consume it safely within 6 months, but it’s best enjoyed before 3 months.
Remember to write the date of freezing on the packaging so you know how long you can keep it for. Defrost overnight in a refrigerator before heating it through the next day for lunch!
How To Know If Fresh Tomato Soup Has Gone Bad
You can tell if fresh tomato soup has gone bad in much the same way as you can when it is canned. Bad soup is just bad soup, no matter how it’s packaged. Just to remind you quickly:
- Look for signs of mold and spoilage.
- Smell it to see if it is rancid, spoiled, or sour.
- Taste it ONLY once it has passed the first 2 tests. If it tastes bad, it’s bad.
If any of these stand out to you, then throw the tomato soup away. Also, be really vigilant about storing fresh tomato soup.
If you fail to freeze or refrigerate it quickly enough, then harmful bacteria will form and you might not notice signs of it before eating it and getting sick.
With canned tomato soup, the safe storage of it is largely taken care of for you, but with fresh tomato soup, it’s up to you! Follow our advice carefully though, and you should be absolutely fine.
Kitchen tools you’ll need
- Amy’s Soup, Gluten Free, Organic
- New England Soup Factory Cookbook
- Cooks Standard 10-Piece Multi-Ply Clad Stainless Steel
- Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 Quart 9-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
Key Points To Remember
Just before we leave, we wanted to remind you that proper storage is the best way to avoid soup going bad, whether it’s from a can or fresh.
By following our storage suggestions, you can avoid the whole nasty business of discovering tomato soup that’s gone bad (and believe us, it really is nasty business).
Keep canned soup in a cool, dry, clean space, and fresh soup in the fridge for 4 days, or freezer for up to 6 months.
Following this advice will mean you get to enjoy your tomato soup, and isn’t that really what we’re all out here trying to do anyway?