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m ot h e r e a r t h n e w s

2 014 fa l l / fo o d & g a rd e n s e r i e s GUIDE TO FRESH FOOD ALL YEAR

HOW TO STORE FRESH VEGETABLES


Soup season is right around the corner, and if you have a garden, the

best ingredients are just a few steps away. Fresh produce from your garden or the farmers market is the key to flavorful homemade soups. Whether it’s a chilled berry puree, a light, brothy soup, or a thick, creamy winter warmer, after you’ve tasted the rich and comforting results of your labors, there’s no going back to soup in a can. Plus, homemade goodness doesn’t have to mean spending all day in the kitchen. With a good stock ready to go, basic kitchen staples and fresh produce, you can put a delicious soup on the table in about half an hour. And most soups freeze or can beautifully, so you can put a scrumptious soup together one day, and enjoy it for many meals to come. You may have heard that soup always tastes better the next day – it’s true! Homemade soups cost a lot less, too – especially if you garden. If you don’t, look for end-of-season deals at the farmers market, and stock up!


t h e a ll - im p o r ta n t s o u p s to ck instant flavor enhancers To add even more depth to your homemade soups, try some of the following tried-and-true techniques for boosting flavor:

1. Add grated or pureed potato, squash, zucchini,

onion or garlic early in the process; they’ll eventually dissolve.

Soup stock is the often unnoticed foundation that makes a soup full-bodied rather than bland and watery. It’s a flavorful liquid in which vegetables, meat and/or fish are cooked slowly, in order to extract their full essense. Making soup stock is a perfect companion to gardening. Simply toss your less-thanperfect culls (complete with trimmings, leaves, and peels) and those too-small-to-peel garlic cloves and potatoes, plus a few herbs and seasonings into a heavy pot filled with water. (I find that starting with cold or room temperature water helps veggies release even more flavor.) Then just let it simmer while you go about your day. You can keep plenty of stock frozen and ready to use. If you have a little extra room in the freezer, you can also store veggie trimmings that would have ended up in the disposal or compost pile, until there’s enough for great stock.

2. Pop in an herb-infused ice cube. (Blend fresh

Soup stock can be based on vegetables, fowl, beef, fish or Soup seasonExperiment is right around the corner, and if you even miso. with different ingredients to suit your have garden, the best ingredients arehand. just a You few don’t need taste aand use what’s in season and on steps Fresh produce from your gardenand or the to peelaway. any veggies – the skins add nutrients flavor. Just Add a hefty dollop of tomato paste, honey, molasfarmers market is the key to flavorful homemade rinse the dirt off. With chicken, skin is optional; it provides more ses, nut butter, pesto, miso or nutritional yeast (the soups. Whether it’s a fat. chilled berry puree, light,calcium and flavor, but also more Simmered bonesaadd base of many bouillon cubes). brothy soup, orbut a thick, creamy other nutrients, you can leavewinter them warmer, out if youafter prefer. you’ve tasted the rich and comforting results of your Spice up soups based on tomatoes, beans or cream with dashes of nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin or chili labors, there’s no going toofsoup instrain a can.and Plus, After letting it simmer for aback couple hours, discard the homemade goodness doesn’t have to mean powder. solids, then allow the stock to cool. Don’t let it sitspending around any lonall thetme kitchen. a good ready toIfgo, gerday thaninthe it takesWith to reach roomstock temperature. you don’t Add complexity with a dash of red or white wine, basic kitchen staples and fresh produce, you put have time to make soup immediately, freeze orcan refrigerate the cognac, brandy, sherry, Worcestershire sauce, hot astock delicious soup on the table in about half an hour. to use later. sauce, lemon juice or vinegar. And most soups freeze or can beautifully, so you can put a scrumptious soup together one day, and enjoy it for many meals to come. You may have heard that soup always tastes better the next day – it’s true! Homemade soups cost a lot less, too – especially if Soup stocks can be enriched or thickened by adding wine, cream, pureed vegetables, miso,don’t, or starches, suchend-of-season as wheat or oat flower. If you garden. If you look for youre inventing a soup with whatever is on hand, here’s a great way to begin: saute diced onions, celery, carrots, deals at the farmers market, and stock up! garlic and herbs in herbs with oil and a little water, and keep frozen in ice cube trays.)

3. 4. 5.

traditional techniques

just enough oil and butter to coat the bottom of your pot. Brown the vegetables slightly, then deglaze the browned bottom of the pot with stock or dry white wine.

After the pan Is deglazed, add half of your stock and the ingredients that will take longest to cook. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are almost done. Next, add enough stock to create the desired volume. Return to a boil and add the remaining ingredients. Remove from heat. Adjust seasonings and allow the soup to sit for as long as possible before serving, to let the flavors meld. To freeze soup, allow about an inch of space in the container for expansion. To can soup, pressure can according to recommendations for the least acidic ingredients, typically 30 minutes to an hour at 10 or 11 pounds pressure. (For more about canning, see “Pressure Canning Basics” at http://goo.gl/Y27XWm.)


Soup stock is the often unnoticed foundation that makes a soup full-bodied rather than bland and watery. It is a flavorful liquid in which vegetables, meat and/or fish are cooked slowly, in order to extract their full essense. Making soup stock is a perfect companion to gardening. Simply toss your less-than-perfect culls (complete with trimmings, leaves, and peels) and those too-small-to-peel garlic cloves and potatoes, plus a few herbs and seasonings into a heavy pot filled with water. (I find that starting with cold or room temperature water helps veggies release even more flavor.) Then just let it simmer while you go about your day. You can keep plenty of stock frozen and ready to use. If you have a little extra room in the freezer, you can also store veggie trimmings that would have ended up in the disposal or compost pile, until there’s enough for great stock. Soup stock can be based on vegetables, fowl, beef, fish or even miso. Experiment with different ingredients to suit your taste and use what’s in season and on hand. You do not need to peel any veggies – the skins add nutrients and flavor. Just rinse the dirt off. With chicken, skin is optional; it provides more flavor, but also more fat. Simmered bones add calcium and other nutrients, but you can leave them out if you prefer. After letting it simmer for a couple of hours, strain and discard the solids, then allow the stock to cool. Do not let it sit around any longer than the tme it takes to reach room temperature. If you don’t have time to make soup immediately, freeze or refrigerate the stock to use later.


To add even more depth to your homemade soups, try some of the following tried-and-true techniques for boosting flavor:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Add grated or pureed potato, squash, zucchini, onion or garlic early in the process; they’ll eventually dissolve. Pop in an herb-infused ice cube. (Blend fresh herbs with oil and a little water, and keep frozen in ice cube trays.) Add a hefty dollop of tomato paste, honey, molasses, nut butter, pesto, miso or nutritional yeast (the base of many bouillon cubes). Spice up soups based on tomatoes, beans or cream with dashes of nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin or chili powder. Add complexity with a dash of red or white wine, cognac, brandy, sherry, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, lemon juice or vinegar.

Soup stocks can be enriched or thickened by adding wine, cream, pureed vegetables, miso, or starches, such as wheat or oat flower. If youre inventing a soup with whatever is on hand, here’s a great way to begin: saute diced onions, celery, carrots, garlic and herbs in just enough oil and butter to coat the bottom of your pot. Brown the vegetables slightly, then deglaze the browned bottom of the pot with stock or dry white wine. After the pan Is deglazed, add half of your stock and the ingredients that will take longest to cook. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are almost done. Next, add enough stock to create the desired volume. Return to a boil and add the remaining ingredients. Remove from heat. Adjust seasonings and allow the soup to sit for as long as possible before serving, to let the flavors meld. To freeze soup, allow about an inch of space in the container for expansion. To can soup, pressure can according to recommendations for the least acidic ingredients, typically 30 minutes to an hour at 10 or 11 pounds pressure. (For more about canning, see “Pressure Canning Basics” at http://goo.gl/Y27XWm.)

Now it’s time to try one of the following recipes. Or take “stock” of what’s in your kitchen and garden, find the best market deals and experiment away!


In a large pot, saute onions and garlic in oil until translucent. Add peppers, cumin, oregano and chicken (if desired). Saute until chicken is browned, or about 10 minutes if making a vegetarian soup. Add tomatoes, cooking over medium heat until they release their juices. Add stock and corn kernels. Simmer 15 minutes. Add lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with grated cheese, crumbled tortilla chips, and cilantro or parsley. Yield: 5 servings.


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