The cold and wet weather of February cries out for a hot bowl of soup. This is how I made a soup base for this month’s canning mastery challenge.
Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give a hearty sustenance and cheer? … Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don’t catch steak hanging around when you’re poor and sick, do you?
Judith Martin (Miss Manners)
It was a challenge – I don’t have a food processor, which meant that I had to try different kitchen appliances. I started with my blender but it didn’t work. The bulky carrots and stringy celery kept getting stuck on the blades and no blending occurred.
I was a little worried when I looked down at my mess of cut vegetables but then I realized that people have been processing vegetables to preserve in salt for hundreds, if not thousands of years without food processors. Certainly, I could find a solution! I dug through my cupboards and found my little “whiz banger.” I dumped each small batch of pulverized vegetables into a large bowl, added the salt and stirred it all together.
This method worked well until I got to the dried tomatoes. Their leathery texture made them impervious to the blades of the whiz banger. “Not to worry,” I told myself as I knew I could rely on my trusty coffee grinder to grind them up like I did when I made tomato paste. The coffee grinder work – until it didn’t. I blew the motor of my little coffee grinder. Luckily, I had a spare (coffee is important to me). Eventually, the tomatoes were all ground and added to the bowl.
I ran everything through the whiz banger one more time before putting into a large glass jar for storage.
It is not as paste like as the soup base on the Food in Jars website, but is it ever good!
What I learnt:
- This was the first time I made anything using leeks. I think I will be using them more often.
- The parsley stems are too hard to pulverize. Next time I will remove the leaves and discard the stems.
- I will grow and dry tomatoes this year. For years, I dried my tomatoes only to give them away because I was never too sure how to use them. Now I know that in addition to making tomato powder, I can use them to make this soup base.
- I think I need a food processor.
At my store, you can buy a box of stock cubes or envelopes for between $3.48 to $5.29. You need 1/2 a bullion cube or a single envelope to make 1 cup of stock. This means that it would cost between $0.26 to $0.21 to flavor each cup of stock. A single teaspoon of this soup base is all that is needed to flavour a cup of stock. This recipe made about 2 liters of soup base. According to google, there are a little more than 405 teaspoons in 2 liters! That means that I could make a lot of stock! but at what cost?
|Garlic – I bought 3 heads of garlic for $1.59 and used slightly more than ½ of one head.||$0.26|
|Celery – $10.79 /kg! The 3 stalks I used amounted to about 60 grams||$1.00|
|Leeks – 0.855 kg at 1.28/kg||$1.09|
|Parsley – Normally, we would sell this at our store for .99 a bunch. I got mine for free from our produce guy because he ended up with way too much.||$0.99|
|Dried tomatoes – used my own dried tomatoes from our garden but packages of dried tomatoes (not in oil) are available in grocery stores.||$5.69|
|Sea Salt – roughly $3.00 for 900 grams or 31 ounces.||$2.34|
Total cost to make 2 liters
Cost per serving
Each time I choose to use my homemade soup base I would save about $0.20, not too bad at all. Of course, your cost would decrease if you use your own garden produce.
Will I do it again?
Yes, absolutely. The Man use some of the soup base in a stew. The stew was delicious. This stuff is delicious and versatile. I can’t wait to try a batch using veggies grown in my garden.
While we are on the subject of soup…