Herbs, Spices & Other Seasonings for Soups
Herbs and spices are essential to the art of soup making. In some soups, they're the central theme — but generally, they serve to enhance and complement the other ingredients. Both Frontier and Simply Organic offer a full selection of soup seasonings, including:
Basil: Good with tomato-base soups and many vegetables.
Bay Leaf: Used in stews and with beans and vegetables. Remove the leaves before serving.
Cayenne: Adds spicy hotness and may be used in place of black pepper.
Celery Seed: A strong, distinctive flavor, to be used sparingly. Whole seeds should be cooked for at least an hour, while ground seed may be added towards the end of cooking.
Chervil: A pungent addition to many thin soups, sometimes substituted for parsley.
Chili Powder: Most often found in chili but also delicious in other soups.
Chipotle powder: Adds heat and a touch of smoky flavor to Mexican style soups, bean soups or corn chowder.
Cumin: Good in vegetable soups, chili, and other bean soups, as well as Mexican and Indian soups.
Curry: A delicious addition to soups containing grains, vegetables, lentils, or split peas.
Dill: Fragrant and delicious in potato or onion soups. Dill weed is best added near the end of cooking, while dill seed needs to cook for a long period and is best used ground.
Fennel: Used sparingly, fennel's strong taste adds a delightful and distinctive touch to squash soup and beef stew.
Garlic: Garlic adds instant flavor to almost any soup. It is available in a variety of forms—fresh, powdered, granulated, and flaked. Granulated is easy to measure and dissolves nicely if allowed to cook a few minutes before serving. Powdered garlic is less strong than granulated.
Marjoram: Flavorful in minestrone, onion, chicken, and potato soups.
Onion: Many soups start with the sautéing of onions, and for good reason! Onion is available in the same forms as garlic.
Parsley: Parsley may be added to almost any soup. It adds lovely color and a refreshing taste. While fresh parsley is sometimes tough in soups, dried parsley is consistently tasty, easy to measure, colorful, and delicate.
Rosemary: The clean, strong flavor of rosemary perks up vegetable or chicken soups. (Use it with a light touch.)
Sea Salt: Salt soups sparingly. Use it to coax out other
flavors rather than dominate your dish. Sea salt contains trace minerals and is free of additives sometimes found in table salt.
Thyme: Release the distinctive flavor and aroma of thyme by crushing it between your fingers as you sprinkle it in vegetable and rice soups.
You can also use dulse flakes (right out of the bag or toasted) in soups—especially Asian-style ones—to enhance flavor, boost nutrition and provide salt.
Soups are a great place to experiment with spices. There are no hard and fast rules about what seasonings to use in what soups, but if you're feeling the need for some direction, here's a good place to start—the following list gives you some suggestions for using the spices described above and some others commonly used in soups:
Bean soups: cumin, garlic, onions, parsley, sage, savory, thyme
Beef, chicken and turkey soups: allspice, basil, bay leaf, cinnamon, curry powder, dill, garlic, ginger, mace, marjoram, nutmeg, onions, paprika, parsley, rosemary, saffron, sage, savory, thyme
Fruit soups: anise, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, mint, nutmeg, rosemary
Seafood soups: basil, chives, curry powder, dill, garlic, ginger, marjoram, oregano, parsley, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme
Tomato soups: basil, bay leaf, chives, garlic, oregano, parsley, rosemary, savory, tarragon, thyme
Vegetable soups: basil, caraway, cayenne, chives, dill, garlic, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, savory, tarragon, thyme
And don't forget soup-enhancing seasonings at the table — soy Bac'Uns and Tac'Os make great additions at the table to sprinkle on a bowl of potato, bean or creamy soups. And try toasted sesame seeds on Asian or vegetable soups.
Frontier and Simply Organic also offer several spice blends, each with its own unique flavor. Blends most suitable for soups include All-Seasons Salt, Celery Salt, Garlic Salt, Herbal Seasoning (no salt), Italian Seasoning, Mexican Seasoning, and Onion Salt.
Of course, all-purpose and ethnic blends, like Dash O'Dill and Italian Seasoning are always good bets, too.
Dinner in Minutes
Nothing beats the ease and simplicity of Frontier dried soup mixes, broth powders, dehydrated vegetables, and prepared blended seasonings to get a pot of soup on and off the stove in just minutes. By keeping a few key Frontier ingredients on hand, you can create soups that meet a variety of mealtime needs. Below are some ingredients to consider, as well as some tips for successful soup cookery.
Broth Powders and Soup Mixes
Frontier's product line includes a wide variety of broth powders (beef-flavored, chicken-flavored, vegetable, and low-sodium vegetable) that can serve as the foundation for any number of quick and delicious soups. Start with one teaspoon of broth per cup of water, and increase the amount for a stronger-flavored stock. When your recipe calls for a base such as water, or chicken, beef or potato broth, these will substitute perfectly.
Instant Soup Mixes
Cheddar Cheese, Chili , Cream of Chickenless, Cream of Mushroom, Onion, and Tomato provide a half dozen quick fixes for those days when there's just no time to cook. Enjoy these on their own, or add additional ingredients and use them as your soup base.
To make a quick and easy soup base for hearty bean or Mexican-type soups, just add water or broth to Frontier Pinto Bean Flakes or Black Bean Flakes. Or use Refried Pinto Bean Mix or Fiesta Black Bean Mix to get a head start on your soup seasonings.
Dried vegetables are perfect for soup-making. Onion and garlic flakes, celery flakes, and diced carrots are perhaps the most commonly used, but others well worth trying are green beans, bell peppers, mushrooms, cabbage, corn, peas, potatoes, spinach flakes, tomato flakes, and a variety of dried chiles. Frontier also offers three special dried soup blends, including Soup Vegetables, Hearty Stew Vegetables, and Deluxe Soup Vegetables, all of which provide a nice shortcut when time is limited.
It's easy to cook with dried vegetables — just keep in mind that one-half cup of dried vegetables equates to one cup of fresh. Allow the dried vegetables to reconstitute in your stock before adding sweeteners, salt, or spices, as these additions will hinder the absorption process.
Fixing the "Oh, no!"
Even the most experienced cooks sometimes ruin a soup. (Little interruptions and distractions may mean that the soup pot isn't watched as closely as it should be!) Thick soups, particularly the creamy varieties, are more prone to stovetop disaster than broth-based varieties. If the smoke alarm is wailing, it's probably best to just go ahead and order pizza—but if you catch it in time, your meal can often be salvaged. Here's how:
If the soup has started to burn, immediately transfer it to another soup pot. Keep whatever pours out freely; do not try to rescue ingredients that don't voluntarily leave the bottom of the original pot. If the soup you've salvaged has a distinct burnt flavor, you can try disguising it by adding another smoky-flavored ingredient, like bacon or ham; adding chunks of potatoes to absorb some of the burnt taste (remove the potatoes before serving); or by using small amounts of different seasonings to mask the flavor. When it's time to clean that burned pot, scrape out what you can, then sprinkle the bottom of the pot with baking soda. Add an inch or so of water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat remove the pot from the burner and let soak. Clean-up will be much easier.
Too much salt? Try the potato rescue again. Peel a potato, cut it into large chunks, and toss it in. The potato, which should be removed before serving, will absorb much of the salt. Dairy products such as milk or yogurt will also help reduce the salty flavor. If you've added too much of something else, adding more broth or other liquid should help tame the flavor.
Soup too watery? Depending on the soup and your tastes, add bean flakes (pinto bean or black bean) seasonings (onion, parsley or celery flakes), dried vegetables (carrots, bell peppers, tomato or spinach) or vegetable powders (beet, tomato, carrot and spinach) to help thicken it.
Getting Started (recipes and tips)
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Broth Powders and Soup Mixes
Soup & Chili Recipes