There is nothing like a delicious, comforting bowl of hot soup on a cold day. One of my favourite activities in fall is making homemade soup. I call it leftover soup because I use up all the broth and bones taking up space in my freezer as well as any leftover vegetables in my fridge. Homemade is also much more nutritious and tasty than store-bought soups.
How to Create Your Own Broth
I love to make my own broth, mainly because store-bought broth is laden with salt and other ingredients I cannot or don’t care to pronounce or put in my body. I use this homemade broth by the spoonful in sauces or larger amounts in soups and stews.
Save the pan drippings from roasted turkey, chicken, pork or beef in a bucket. Store the bucket in the freezer with additions of drippings in the same bucket. When the bucket is full, start a new one. Each addition freezes in a separate layer with the fat rising to the top of each layer. When you remove the broth for use, the fat is easy to scrape off and discard.
I also add the nutrient-packed liquid left at the bottom of the dish after steaming vegetables to my broth buckets. Another trick is to freeze the tough broccoli stalks you trim off the heads to prepare for meals. Freeze them in another bag.
Bones from roasted meat also store well in the freezer for later use in soups. Simply put them in a sealable plastic bag, squish the air out, and freeze. Turkey legs go right into a freezer bag as soon as they are cut from the turkey. That’s because no one in my household likes to eat them. These legs have lots of meat on them too, which falls off the bones as you simmer them on soup making day.
Freeze only large bones; it is more difficult to separate meat from the small ones. The larger leg bones are easily retrieved after simmering them.
Leftovers in Soup
Leftovers taking up space in your fridge are also great in soups. The remainder of last night’s broccoli, mushrooms, corn, rice, pasta or quinoa all add bulk to your hot soups. If you are not making soup within a few days of preparing these leftovers, add them to the collection in your freezer.
If you grow your own vegetables, as many decided to do during the pandemic, you can freeze any you harvest for later use. I don’t grow that many that I cannot eat as I harvest, but I know those that do! On a recent trip to my favourite farm, my aunt sent me home with lots of tomatoes and instructions on how to roast them with garlic. After following her instructions, I gave several buckets away, but ended up with some in my freezer too.
By now you can probably see why I enjoy making hot soup in the fall. Not only do I end up with a delicious and nutritious meal but my freezer gets cleaned out too!
What do you put in your homemade soups?