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It’s Freezing February, and if you are anything like us, you are hunkered down, battling the chill. Our favorite way to warm up: A comforting, steamy bowl of soup. Whether you like to make your own, streamline with a packaged variety, or a combo, we’ve got strategies and tips to help you serve up the best. Grab a spoon and read on.
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1. Layer your flavors - Cook your base flavoring ingredients, such as carrots, onions, celery and garlic (“aromatics” in chef-speak), in a tablespoon or two of fat, like avocado oil, coconut oil or ghee. Add a pinch or two of sea salt and let the vegetables cook over medium-low heat until they’re very tender, stirring occasionally. This lets their flavor develop so they can give your soup some oomph. 

2. Chop vegetables well - Make sure the pieces are small enough so that they cook thoroughly and evenly. Consider doubling the amount of vegetables listed in the recipe—why not? Time-saving tip: Buy pre-chopped onions, or even pre-chopped mirepoix (a mix of carrots, celery and onions); Trader Joe’s sells both. 

3. Season as you go - Add a pinch of salt to each layer of ingredients as you add it. Don’t add a lot; you don’t want to overdo it. But a little bit with each layer as you go will bring out their flavor. Then, after you add the broth, wait to season until the soup has simmered and the flavors have developed to prevent over-salting.

4. Use the best broth - This is the backbone of your soup, so it’s important to use the best you can get. Homemade is amazing, if you have it—but there are plenty of really good packaged varieties available as well. See below for brands we love. Time-saving tip: Add a bay leaf. All you have to do is toss it in when you pour in the broth and it will add a sophisticated layer of complexity to your soup with zero effort. Be sure to take it out before serving or storing.

5. Watch the heat Bring your soup to a boil, then lower the temperature and simmer. If you keep boiling, your vegetables will get mushy (and if there’s meat in there, it may toughen).

6. Store it like a pro - Let your soup cool to room temperature (it can take up to 1 ½ hours, unless you quick-cool it). Then, cover and refrigerate it for up to 4 days. If you’re going to freeze it, cover and refrigerate it for a few hours first until it’s thoroughly chilled. Place it in containers to freeze (we like single-serve containers; check out our favorites below). Be sure to leave an inch of headspace; your soup will expand as it freezes and you don’t want it to pop the lid off.

Give your soup-making efforts a boost with these helpers. 
  • Cook it. If you have a slow cooker or Instant Pot, either works great for soup (though we recommend cooking your aromatics first, before tossing them into the cooker). An old-fashioned Dutch oven is also fantastic for soup as well as braises and other dishes. This one is a classic; we love it for its even heat conduction and durability—plus, it comes in awesome colors.
  • Blend it. Making a puree? Forget dirtying up your blender and mixing in batches. Grab this handy immersion blender instead and puree right in the pot.
  • Freeze it. We love these convenient, dishwasher-safe single-serve glass containers. 

Give your soup-making efforts a boost with these helpers. 
  • Fawen: We can’t get enough of these amazing vegetable soups. They’re made with super-clean ingredients—no artificial stabilizers, preservatives or added sweeteners—and they’re so flavorful. They’re satisfying and hydrating, so perfect for sipping on the go, and they also work great as a base for meals (we love to add quinoa, chopped vegetables, or zucchini noodles). The best part: You can get 15% off! Just use the code SOUPERBOWL at checkout.
  • Pacific Foods: Whether you’re in the mood for a creamy puree, a chunky soup or a condensed soup to add to a casserole, Pacific has you covered. Their products are mostly organic and all non-GMO, and they are committed to sustainability, so you can feel good about buying their products. Pacific also makes delicious bone broths, in simple flavors and with exotic additions like lemongrass and ginger. 
  • True Primal:  When we want a hearty beef-and-vegetable soup but don’t have time to cook, this is the brand we turn to. Made with lots of organic vegetables and 100% grass-fed beef but free of gluten, low-quality oils, MSG and other artificial preservatives and flavors, it’s the next best thing to homemade.
  • Splendid Spoon: If you love hearty, flavorful soups but want to skip the meat, give these vegan bowls a try. With flavors like Lentil-Kale, Red Lentil Dal and Channa Potato Stew, these soups really satisfy. (Bonus: You can add them to your Fresh Direct order, so easy.)
  • Kettle & Fire: Made with organic bones from small farms, organic vegetables and herbs, these slow-cooked broths (simmered for 10 hours or more) taste pretty close to homemade. Available in 100% grass-fed beef, chicken, and mushroom-chicken.
  • Epic: Though the company markets these broths as beverages, there’s no reason why you can’t use them as a base for soup. With flavors like Beef-Jalapeno and Turkey-Cranberry-Sage, these high-quality, traditionally made broths are already well seasoned, saving you a step.

  • Vital Proteins Chicken Bone Broth Collagen Powder: For even more convenience, keep a tub of this powdered broth on hand. Use a few scoops in a soup recipe, or a single scoop if you’re just making a quick bowl for yourself. It’s made without any flavoring or vegetables, so you can add it to anything, and it’s good for anyone on an Auto-Immune Protocol or other special diet that restricts seasonings. 



Are you or anyone in your family dealing with sleep issues? Come to the 92nd Street Y on Wednesday, Feb. 7 for a workshop with our friend, sleep expert Christina Gantcher, and our resident chef, Beth Lipton, to discover powerful tools for optimizing sleep for adults and children — using strategic food and sleep tips from a leading sleep expert and food chef. Find out more here.
Copyright © 2018 Middleberg Nutrition, All rights reserved.

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