It is still January and even though this year it has not been very cold soup is still a tasty meal. Soup can be nutritious, easy to prepare, and inexpensive. It can be great hot or cold, prepared with minimal clean-up, only needs one pot, and the combination of ingredients is unlimited. Soup is a great dish for a variety of palettes and can be tailored to be spicy, savory or sweet. January is National Soup Month, a good time to think about how soup can fit into a healthy eating plan. To help get your creative juices started here are some soup making tips to consider when making soup for you or your family.

To reduce your time in the kitchen, use canned or frozen broths or low-sodium bouillon bases and use frozen or canned vegetables. Don’t forget about canned soups just look for the lower sodium versions.

Experiment with flavorful herbs and spices in place of salt. The most effective replacements are savory flavors with "bite," such as black pepper, garlic powder, curry powder, cumin, dill seeds, basil, ginger, coriander and onion. Use minced or powdered garlic and onion rather than their salt form. When substituting minced or powdered garlic and onion for the salt version, use about half as much. Herbs will have a more intense flavor if added at the end of the long cooking process.

If your hot soup ends up slightly salty, add a teaspoon of cider vinegar with a teaspoon of sugar, tasting after each addition until the vinegar and sugar balance out the salty flavor.

Make the soup the day before, chill and spoon off any fat that rises to the top. Savory soups and stews always taste better if made a day or two in advance and reheated just before serving.

The best method to thicken most soups and stews is to remove some of the cooked vegetables, puree in a blender, and return the pureed mixture to the pot. If you are short on veggies or there are none in your soup, make a paste of flour mixed with cold stock, milk, or water. Add the paste and stir slowly at a simmer for about 5-10 minutes. The ratio is 1-1/2 teaspoons of flour to 1 cup of soup.

To prevent potato or cream soups from curdling warm the milk before adding it to the hot soup. Remove the hot soup from the burner and slowly add in the hot milk. Never allow the soup to boil.

If the soup is not intended as the main course, you can count on one quart to serve six. As a main dish, plan on two servings per quart.

For more information about soups, contact your local Nebraska Extension Office or on the web at: food.unl.edu Nebraska Extension In Our Grit, Our Glory.

  

Nancy Frecks

Extension Educator

Nebraska Extension

Dundy-Hayes-Hitchcock

PO Box 248

Trenton, Nebraska 69044

308 334 5666