As the summer season bids ado and the first round of cold and flu makes its way around thanks to the start of a new school year, soup begins to creep into the minds of many. Not much more soothes a raspy throat and stuffed nose than a warm bowl of homemade soup.
Like me, you may find yourself with too much left over when cooking soup. Sure, you can freeze the excess, and I do, but there is only so much room in my fridge. What’s a soup-centric home cook to do? Create a soup collective.
A soup collective is a group of individuals, maybe friends or co-workers, equally sharing in the making and enjoyment of soup on a regular basis. Each member takes their turn making soup and sharing the delicious fruits of their labor with the group. Just imagine the flavors you’ll be introduced to!
4 Things to Keep in Mind when Starting a Soup Collective
- Ooze with nutrition. Whether it’s choosing lower sodium stock over bouillon cubes, adding in additional color with corn, sweet potato and baby kale or featuring whole grains like farro, wheat berries and brown rice, take the opportunity to spotlight nutritious ingredients.
- Don’t forget the protein. If you’re not making a soup that calls for meat such as chicken noodle, add in protein to make the soup a complete dish. Pulses (dried beans, peas and lentils) tend to get missed by most people and soup is an excellent way to weave them into weekly meals. Making a veggie soup? Pour in a can of cannellini beans.
- Cream with starch versus fat. Soup aficionados know the trick for creating creamy soups with minimal fat: immersion blender meets beans, potatoes or other starchy root vegetables. Trust me, once you blend you’ll be a believer. Traditional blenders and food processors work just fine, but can get a little dicey with hot liquids (as learned firsthand). So allow the soup to cool before blending.
- Food safety trumps schedules. Since you’re sharing your efforts with others, make food safety your utmost priority. Nothing fouls up a collective quicker than a round of foodborne illness caused by careless kitchen practices. Work on clean surfaces and kitchen wares, use vinyl gloves when handling leftovers and ingredients not being cooked to a boil, and cool soup as fast as you can.
Place soup in small containers and refrigerate immediately. There’s no need to cool to room temperature prior and you never want to stick the whole vat in the refrigerator at once. It can take hours for the center of a soup pot to come down in temperature— giving bacteria opportunity to multiply to dangerous levels.
Photo Source: Think Stock