Enjoying a well made bowl of soup is indeed, a culinary delight! It is also the perfect vehicle to provide one with maximum nutrition to help the body function throughout the day. Soup always seems to come up in those well-meaning conversations about how to eat better but the method to make that go-to meal, rarely follows. Here’s a few Soup Basics to consider before you pull out the pot and dig around for a recipe:
The surest way to make a vegetable the least desirable to consume is to boil it. All the goodness that a rich, bio-diverse soil and the magic of chlorophyll have to offer, escape out into the water. BUT, if that water isn’t discarded, and we can find a way to efficiently use it, we have something. This is where soup comes in. When making a soup we are essentially making a vegetable broth at the same time and capturing the flavors of its contents.
Take Your Time
Take your time at the cutting board to develop your knife skills and cut your veggies into equal sizes. Whether you’re making a pureed soup or a classic vegetable soup, the size going into the pot matters. For a puree, we want everything to cook evenly and all be done at the same time. The same applies for the broth soup. Among the many satisfactions derived from enjoying soup is the texture and mouth feel. The vegetables should all ‘fit’ nicely on the spoon. Big clunky vegetables that are under-cooked can definitely be a deal breaker and cause the pot to sit in the cupboard for a while….again!
Choosing what vegetables will go into your pot are obviously, a big deal. But more important is where they were grown and how they were grown. It’s easy to get caught up in the organic label ( I always reach for it in the store, too ) but developing a relationship with the people who are growing your food can not be overstated. When making a soup we’re essentially leaching flavor into a liquid and consuming it. We should be very concerned with anything other than nutrition that may be leaching out, as well. Here’s a quick reference from the Environmental Working Group to help spot the most heavily contaminated ‘conventional’ produce. Conventional? …that’s a post for another time
Salt is Your Friend
One of the big differences between the home-cook and the professional cook is the amount of salt we use. There is definitely a fine line to tread when salting but it does actually help food taste better! It also makes a difference when we choose to salt. When making soup it’s important to consider the evaporation or reduction of the liquid during the cooking process. While the liquid reduces, the salt will not. If we season to taste in the beginning of the simmer, the end result will inevitably be salty. So, it’s good practice to salt your masterpiece when the soup has finished cooking and your vegetables are nice and tender.
Practice makes Delicious Soup! A good pot of soup can provide nourishing meals for days along with a sense of satisfaction that nourishes the soul. It is a skill that has no boundaries and allows for a deepening relationship with the seasons. A simmering pot of soup fills the air with a welcoming aroma and has always been a symbol of hospitality. Taking responsibility for our own nutritional needs is critical to realizing good health. Practicing these Soup Basics will help you along your journey of living well and feeling better!
Please contact Heirloom Kitchen with any questions you may have regarding soups, living a gluten-free lifestyle or any other way we may assist you in your journey.