Well, the weather says we may get snow this weekend around here - so it is time to dig into the soup pot and pull out some warm and wonderful ideas to get ready for the "snow storm". Our Creamy Tomato Soup recipe is great
Creamy Tomato Soup
6 Cups Water
1 Cup Tomato Powder
1 Cup Freeze Dried Diced tomatoes, rehydrated
1/4 cup chopped chives
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dry basil
1 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp Butter powder
4 Tbsp Sour Cream powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring the 6 cups of water to boil in a large pot. Add the Tomato Powder and stir to mix well. A whisk works wonders to mix the tomato powder in. Reduce heat to medium low. Add the Diced tomatoes, chives, onion and garlic powders, basil and mix well. Whisk in the butter and sour cream powders until creamy. Reduce to low and allow flavors to blend for about 10-15 minutes. Serve hot. Better than canned soup!!!
Spinach, kale, escarole, collard greens, they are all the same. I buy them either fresh by the pound or in a fresh prepackaged bag, stick them in the refrigerator with every intention of using them in salads, sautees or soups. Then I either forget they are there, or cook other ideas through the week, and there they sit. If I let it sit too long, it ends up getting squishy and slimy and crossing that line into the “unknown veggie” zone - that deep, dark, green, liquefied state. I have, over the years, thrown away way too much food like that but I keep hearing my grampa’s words in the back of my head, ‘Waste not, want not.”
Let’s face it - the economy is not as good as they would like us to believe, and food prices are going up. I saw apples the other day - not that long ago, a couple years at most, a 3 lb bag in season could be bought for anywhere from $.99 to $1.99 on sale. The ad I saw online was for a local grocery and they were selling a 3 lb bag of apples for $4.99. This week, the out of state apples are about $2.75 a bag for the 3 lb bag. That is at least a little better, but it makes you put things into perspective so you can start finding ways to save money AND preserve foods.
A couple years ago I had the brilliant idea to nip my waste in the bud by grabbing whatever is left at the end of the week and throwing it in the freezer, often just as it is. Sometimes I will slip it into a zipper bag for better protection from freezer burn, but often I just toss it on a shelf for use later. I know someone out there will tell me that this is not the proper way to freeze foods, and that I truly should take the time to blanch the veggies. Often I am in a hurry and just am not willing to take the time to blanch, chill, dry, package, freeze, when I can just grab the bag and throw it on a shelf. I have also been known to take the plastic tubs full of organic spinach and just toss them in as well.
These frozen greens are great to throw in soups, stews, sautees, quiche, or anywhere you would toss fresh greens then allow to steam. We have also just grabbed a bag out, steamed it and served it with olive oil or butter as a quick and easy side dish. I find, personally, if I do this with the tougher greens like kale and collard they do work better in meals, too, because my random freezing breaks down some of the wood stems better than steaming, then adding to meals. And just imagine the energy I am saving by not precooking a small bag or two, then cooking again later!
Yes, you will definitely read all over the internet and in books as well as be advised by those at every cooperative extension that blanching is a MUST to stop all enzyme activity and to reduce the nutrient loss of vegetables that are frozen. Yes, you will also see that freezing without blanching will “change the texture” or flavor of the vegetables. Some will even tell you that you run the risk of the non-blanched vegetables to continue to decompose or “go bad” while in the freezer. Over the years I have heard many people say that not blanching the greens makes them flavorless, but I can only speak from experience here - and that has not been the case. We have still used the greens with great results in many different types of dishes, BUT we make sure to use them within a couple of months of sticking them in the freezer. Often times we use them within a a week or two by not buying more fresh until the frozen ones are gone.
Please note, I would NOT do this with any other vegetable that I am going to freeze. If I am going to store corn, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, or any other vegetable, I will always blanch those first. I will take the time to set aside a day, pick or buy in bulk, and process as much as possible for the freezer all at once. These vegetables tend to be the ones that I store for longer periods of time, though - sometimes up to a full year. The greens I freeze are top on our list of things to use and I make sure to schedule them in somewhere within 3 months of throwing them in the freezer because this is just a stop-gap measure to save what I over bought and didn’t use. Waste not, want not.
If you prefer to blanch your greens first, make sure you study and learn the proper equipment to have on hand, as well as the specific amount of time for each vegetable you plan to blanch/freeze. Every vegetable is different, and therefore needs a different time under the hot water to stop the enzyme activity and to prepare them for deep freezing.
In a pinch, this method of quick-freeze and use for greens may help you salvage what you might normally throw away. It could help you stop wasting money as well. On the other hand, if you have a compost heap, you can always toss it there and “grow” some delicious dirt!
I was in a mood the other night. I was tired of the same-old-same-old and was very much in the mood for something for dinner that was easy, but filled with vegetables. And it was chilly outside. Going through our food storage, I figured a nice pot of vegetable soup would fit the bill. I started re-hydrating things, and before I knew it, we had dinner!
It sort of created itself as I went along. My original intention was to have a more broth-like soup, but the idea struck me to turn the potatoes into the creamy broth. I hope that you enjoy this one as much as we did. It was hot, packed full of veggies, and very filling.
I have added a few ideas for variations on the recipe, in case you would like to try something different. Maybe one day you can have it as made, but the second day, turn the leftovers into a cheesey soup for dinner!
CREAMY VEGETABLE SOUP
1/3 Cup Freeze dried Celery
2 Cups Freeze Dried Potato Dices
6 Cups Water
2 Tbsp Vegetarian Chicken bullion
Place water in a soup pot, add the bullion, mix well, and bring to a boil. Add the celery and potatoes, reduce heat and simmer a few minutes. Then turn heat off and allow to sit.
1/3 Cup Freeze Dried Onions plus 2 Tbsp water in a small bowl, set aside.
2 Tbsp olive oil
Garlic powder to taste
2-16 oz bags of California Mix (Broccoli, Cauliflower and Carrots)
1/2-3/4 Cup water
In large saucepan, heat olive oil. Add the rehydrated onions and Garlic powder to taste.
Sautee until onions appear clear, then add frozen vegetables and water. Bring water to a boil. Steam the vegetables with the lid on to conserve liquid. When soft and tender, using a potato masher, mash the vegetables slightly so that they are in smaller, bite sized pieces for soup. Set aside.
4 Tbsp Freeze Dried Sour Cream
5 Tbsp Freeze Dried Milk Powder
1 1/2 Cups water
Shake well in a jar and set aside.
Return to the Potato mix in the soup pot and with your hand blender, blend this mix until smooth. You may leave some chunks if desired. Once ready, scrape the onion/vegetable mix into the soup pot, mix well, and turn the heat to medium/medium high, depending on your stove, to bring it to a light boil without scorching the potato broth. Reduce heat to simmer and allow the flavors to blend for a few minutes. Pour in the milk mixture and heat through. Serve hot with fresh bread, or crackers.
NOTE: You may use Freeze Dried Carrots, Broccoli, Cauliflower, but I find for this recipe the frozen do work best. Fresh would be great, too.
VARIETY: You can add meat to this if you are looking for a higher protein meal. Just remember to rehydrate it before adding to the soup, then heat through. Other vegetables may also be added, such as corn, peas, or peppers. Maybe even some turnips fresh from your garden.
Start with this as a soup base, and use your imagination. Cheese? Rice?
Judith has over 20 years experience in food storage, herbs, essential oils, and prepping. She was a captain in the USAF-AUX, FEMA trained, Community Emergency Response Team member and NRA marksmanship award recipient. She shares her experiences with her readers offering tips and recipes.
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