Apologies and thanks to U2; it was too easy. One of the neat bits of information that WordPress offers on the “stats” page for my blog is a section showing recent “Top Searches”. This shows what were folks actually looking for on WordPress when they were directed to andthenmakesoup. I thought that this week it might be nice and possibly helpful to respond to a few of these queries which have never actually been addressed by this blog.
See, I have a feeling some visitors are surprised to find out that this blog isn’t entirely about soup, or even actually very often about soup at all. Its about enjoying food and friends, and about using resources to their seeming fullest and then, well, making soup… but you already know that, right?
In any event, she said climbing off her soapbox, someone (it doesn’t tell me who visited, it just tells me what search terms were queried) wanted to know about freezing soup; specifically is it safe to freeze soup in a glass jar. Personally, I’d be leery of freezing anything in a glass jar. Freezer-safe reusable plastic containers (bpa-free, of course) are fine, but I usually use some sort of freezer-weight zip bags.
Zip bags are great because you can freeze specific amounts of well-chilled soup or stock (I usually use a 1-cup measure as a ladle when filling the bags). I fill the bags, stand or prop or wedge them upright in a plastic container in case any liquid spills over, and leave the tops open just a hair. Once the soup is frozen solid, completely seal the bags and stack them like pancakes. Just be sure to allow a bit of headroom for the soup or stock to expand as it freezes!!
I’d also avoid freezing any soup that was dairy-based. Actually, the freezing it is not the problem; I’ve found that milk and cream (and yogurt and sour cream) don’t take well to the thawing part. Its mostly a textural thing, it can separate and essentially break. My suggestion is to take the soup up to the point where the dairy would be added, freeze it, thaw it, and pick up where you left off.
Honestly, though, I hardly ever use milk or cream to give “creaminess” to soup. I’m a big fan of Yukon gold or even red potatoes for making soups “creamy”. Stay away from “baking” potatoes, for this purpose – they get sort of gritty rather than creamy when puréed. Once the potatoes are cooked through I purée madly with my stick blender and that usually does it. Of course, it also keeps the soup vegan, which matters to some folks. I think most vegetarians allow milk (other than those folks who are lactose-intolerant, of course) and I like milk just fine, I simply don’t use it often in soup!Someone wanted “the corn to bean ration in salad”. I think this is strictly personal, but I like roughly 2/3 beans to 1/3 corn. My neighbor’s “Two Bean and Corn Salad”, is happily withstanding the test of time. I added a few of my (mmmm… homegrown!) cherry tomatoes to my most recent batch, and it was very good indeed!
One surprising query was “how to start a gardening group”. I say surprising because I think of andthenmakesoup as a food blog, and while I hope I am connected to my own garden food-wise and supportive of everyone’s gardens, it really pleased me that this query showed up here!
Without knowing anything more specific than the query as above, I’d say talk with folks at local nurseries, talk with you local extension service. If your town has anything like Zilker Park or the Phipps, or Missouri Botanical, talk with folks there.
Chat up your neighbors, search out local garden clubs, and, if you are looking for or wanting to create a very specific kind of group to focus on, say, daylilies or water-gardening, see if there is a national group that might be helpful. Do you have a local 4-H or FFA group?
Do you want to start a community garden? Talk with folks at senior centers, public schools, anywhere there might be a bit of space and a built in work force! Find out who owns that vacant lot, or talk with your city parks and recreation department.
Think about using meet-up or something similar to find like-minded folks. And, have fun!
Got questions we can try to answer? Got more answers or suggestions or comments about these questions? Let us know what you’re searching for!
Back to our “regularly scheduled broadcast” with recipes next week, I promise… meantime, have a good one!