Yesterday I cooked one of the soups that I had “crockpot ready” in the freezer. It turned out fantastic! It’s one of our favorite soups (the French lentil soup in the bottom left corner of this page), and none of us could tell the difference between the one I make fresh and the one I made by dumping a bag of frozen ingredients into the crock pot. Definitely a winner!
So this morning, I spent somewhere between an hour and a half and two hours (I had to help our son with his couch cushion fort in the middle of it, and change a diaper, so exact times are hard to come by) and made five double batches of it for the freezer. I always double that soup recipe so that it fills up the whole crock pot. That lasts us two full meals and part of another meal. So today’s chopping and blanching session should give us at least 12 or 13 meals. They’ll be perfect for busy mornings when I don’t have time to chop up all the ingredients for soup – all I have to do is dump a bag into the crock pot, add 12 cups of water, and let it cook all day. Hard to beat that.
I blanched the carrots and potatoes before I added them to the soup bag, and they had the same taste and texture that they usually do when I cooked the soup. Not sure if it would work if they went in the freezer raw, and I decided to go ahead and blanch the carrots and potatoes for today’s prep session too – it was worth the extra few minutes that it took.
In another kitchen adventure, yesterday I made my own veggie bullion!
I got the idea from a reader (thanks Kay!) and decided it was worth trying. I used this recipe. The units are all in ounces, so I used our postage scale to weigh stuff before adding it to the food processor. I didn’t have enough salt (9 ounces is a lot!) so I ended up using about half as much as the recipe calls for. It’s still very salty and has enough salt in it to keep it from turning solid in the freezer. So I was able to scoop it out into the bags of soup I was prepping this morning. By my estimates (based on 1 tsp homemade bullion per cup of water to make broth), the batch of bullion I made yesterday is roughly equivalent to 10 boxes of the bullion cubes that I normally buy for $2.50 per box. I don’t know how much my ingredients cost, but I would guess somewhere around $8 – $10 (all organic). And of course the stuff I have in the freezer now doesn’t have yeast extract (MSG) in it. When I made my soup bags today for the freezer, I replaced half the store-bought bullion with my homemade stuff. We’ll see how it turns out. For now, I’m quite excited about it.
Have a wonderful weekend!