How to Use a Soup Maker

Abundant in nutrients and low in calories, soups are hearty meals you can indulge in every day, especially if you also invest in a soup maker. They will be especially appreciated on cold winter days, and are a great way to gather the family together after a long day away from home. 

If you already own a soup maker, or are considering investing in one, you may be unsure how to use it, and whether you simply chuk everything into it, or if there is some prep involved. 

Here are the 7 steps to using a soup maker, that will ensure all of your soups taste nothing short of magnificent. 

1. Read the User Manual First

Back in high school, a teacher gave us a test consisting of 30 questions we were supposed to answer in less than a minute. Sounds impossible, right? 

The first question however wasn’t actually a question, but an instruction telling us to read through all the questions first, and only then fill in our answers. The second one demanded our first name, the third our last name, and so on. The answers were easy and short, but the time constraint was very limiting.

You’d think most of the class failed, as there wasn’t enough time to get to question 30. Actually, most of the class failed because they didn’t adhere to the instructions and read through to question 30, which instructed us to only answer the first one, and forget about the others. 

Moral of the story: always read the instructions and user manuals that come with an appliance. They may be tedious and boring, but they will tell you everything you need to know, and save you valuable time later on, when you need to dig the manual out in order to check what a certain button does. 

2. Prepare Your Ingredients 

Before you actually fire up your soup maker, you have to prepare the ingredients and make them soup maker-ready. This means chopping the vegetables into smaller pieces to make them fit into the appliance and shorten the cooking time (the bigger they are, the longer they’ll need to be cooked). It is also important that the pieces are of the same or similar size so that they all cook evenly.

Frozen food is usually already cut into smaller chunks anyway, so you won’t have to worry about that. However, you will have to keep in mind that, although you can put a smaller amount of frozen items into your soup maker, it is not advisable to use frozen food only. A large amount of frozen items will prolong the cooking time and more importantly, it can damage the blades and even ruin the appliance for good. 

3. Saute the Meat (and Vegetables)

Unless your soup maker specifically says that you can put a small amount of raw meat directly into it, refrain from doing so. 

In most cases, all meat should be cooked before it goes into the soup maker. As for your vegetables, you don’t need to saute them (as they can be properly cooked by your soup maker) but some people claim that this is crucial for making your soups taste better. 

The process of sauteing (which basically means frying) with a little bit of oil or even some butter intensifies the taste and adds an additional layer of flavour, as the sugar from the veggies gets released and caramelised in the process.

It is worth noting that there are soup makers that come equipped with an in-built saute function, which can be used to accomplish this step.

4.  Add Your Ingredients and Stock 

Once you add the chopped (and sauteed) ingredients to the soup maker, add some stock as well, paying close attention to the maximum and minimum fill levels. 

Generally, said levels are clearly marked, usually with a line that you either have to stay above (for minimal levels) or below (for maximum levels). You are strongly advised to respect these lines, as underfilling can lead to mechanical problems, while overfilling can be messy and even dangerous if the contents get spilled or splashed around.

When it comes to the type of stock you should use, the possibilities are endless. It all depends on your personal preference. 

Instead of stock, you can also use passata, for instance. Just make sure to add enough water too, as passata tends to be much thicker than stock and additionally thickens during the cooking process.

5. Put the Lid On and Select the Right Setting

It might seem a bit obvious, even borderline ridiculous, but I do need to tell you to put the lid on your soup maker at this point. 

You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget something as basic – you may be distracted and simply forget this step, making for a major mess. 

Once the lid is on, select the appropriate setting. 

Most soup makers come with a recipe book, so it is always a good idea to check them out first, not just when you want to try some of them out, but also when following other recipes, to get a basic idea of which settings are appropriate for what kinds of soup. 

There are usually settings for making chunky or clear soups, but it will depend on your specific appliance. 

6. Do a Taste Test 

Once your soup is done, be careful how you handle it. The soup will be extremely hot and there will be a considerable amount of steam coming out of the appliance when you take the lid off. 

Before you transfer the soup into a bowl or a pot, make sure to taste your concoction. Add more seasoning if needed and also check if you are happy with the thickness of your soup.

If you are not happy with it, don’t despair – there are easy solutions available. 

In case you need it to be thicker, you can simply add some beans or potatoes and cook them for a bit longer to allow them to soak up the excess liquid and release some starch that will thicken the soup. Alternatively, you can use water and flour to make a bit of paste that will act as a thickening agent.

For soups that come out too thick, add some more stock and let it cook for a short while longer.

7. Allow the Appliance to Cool Before Cleaning

Before you start cleaning the appliance, always check that it is unplugged first, as water and electricity don’t mix. 

Remove all the removable parts and clean them separately. Pay extra attention to cleaning the blades. Even if they don’t seem that sharp, they can cause serious injuries. 

Finally, before you assemble your soup maker again, it is important to let the parts dry completely.

Wrapping It Up 

The steps described above outline the basics of using a soup maker and they will serve you well regardless of the brand of soup maker you own. 

In addition to soups, you can also use it to make smoothies and sauces, all you will need is a bit of creativity. Test different recipes out, and enjoy your home-made bowl of fresh soup! 

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