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Dec 4, 2007 05:05 AM

Some Soup With Your Salt?

What is the reason for the over-abundance of salt in store-bought soups? The soup is commonly ruined by it. Are there soups out there with flavor that don't have a tongue-numbing amount of salt? I find that "reduced sodium" soups are usually "reduced fat" and taste synthetic and bland. I just picked up some TJ's roasted red pepper and tomato, as well as butternut squash, and have high hopes. Im I only left with homemade? My wife has a recipe for something her family calls "Danish soup", which has chicken and beef stock, vegetables and farina or bread and meat dumplings. It takes all day, but is delicious, and is never salty. In fact, I find myself adding a pinch while eating, which is how it should be. The soup should be made with a little salt, and levels should be adjusted at the table per diner preference.

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  1. I couldn't agree more. I salt my soup to a low level, to get the taste right. After that, I add salt "to taste" when I'm reheating it for individual serving, or just add at the table.
    The more you make homemade stocks and soups, the more synthetic canned soups taste.
    I could eat Campbell's soups and enjoy them in the past. Now, it tastes gross. I've spoiled me!

    1. many untrained cooks just add lots of salt if a soup lacks flavor. They know not of herbs, roasted bones, chicken feet,etc.

      8 Replies
      1. re: toodie jane

        Sodium is used in most processed foods to excess. Try picking up a frozen entree and looking at the sodium content. It's not just soups - commercially prepared goods overload the sodium even on things where it's even less necessary than in soup - breads, canned veggies, etc.

        It's so much more cost-effective and tastes so much better to make your own, I have pretty much quit buying canned soup.

        1. re: rockandroller1

          I need to get some recipes for soups that freeze well b/c I rarely have enough time to make something so time consuming.

          1. re: madgreek

            pretty much all soups freeze well.

            1. re: smartie

              Yeah, well I'm kind of asking for recommendations in a subtle way. BTW, the "Danish" soup I described doesn't freeze well, and neither does greek avgolemono, or most soups i like, now that I think of it.

              1. re: madgreek

                I think that soups w/ chunks of stuff in it doesn't tend to freeze well, but if it's a bisque or pureed, these freeze really well. I just made some carrot ginger parsnip soup (great recipe; if you go to the Whole Food's website and do a search, it will come up, and actually, I made it with no salt, speaking of soups with less salt. . ..) which freezes well.

                1. re: anzu

                  I haven't tried this (yet) but perhaps soups with chunks would freeze better if they were frozen before they were simmered when the more delicate ingredients - veggies and pasta for instance were still uncooked?? It'd require additional time on the stove but the prep (which is the longest part of making soup) would be done.

                2. re: madgreek

                  My mom makes a greek bean soup that is really simple and freezes really well. Here's a pretty good version:

                  1. re: rockandroller1

                    The only problem I have with freezing soups is noodles. They break down and get mushy. I just add them in when consumed. Otherwise, I freeze any soup and I need to because I generally make enough to feed an army!


        2. I agree completely madgreek! so many soups are SO salty, and it is difficult to find a low sodium option that is tasty. I actually have had several of the TJ's soups (tho not the roasted red pepper tomato) and found them to be very tasty. My mother loves the roasted red pepper tomato, my favorite is the butternut squash.

          1. I agree with you. I've always only used Kosher salt, and with a very light hand at that, so I find most prepared foods too salty.

            1 Reply
            1. re: howboy

              There's a great soup cookbook, the Daily Soup Cookbook, that has lessons on how to successfully freeze different sorts of soups and also contains some great recipes. For less-involved but still tasty soup recipes, I always go back to the Moosewood cookbook. Their lentil is great and their white bean and escarole is too -- nothing fancy, just good, solid (well, liquid, I guess!) soup. For store-bought, I've been scouring the healthy foods aisle of my regular grocery store and have liked Muir Glen's canned soups and also Pacific Natural Foods' creamy tomato that comes in a box.

            2. The best level of saltiness in soups is partly a matter of taste. Some are used a high level, some a low one. Note how often when people complain about their bland soup (e.g. pumpkin), others ask - did you salt it enough? Other flavors certainly have their place, but if you try to depend on dozen different herbs, and little salt, you end up with a muddy flavor. Or you go overboard on one flavor, and that is all your guests taste (e.g. hot sauce, black pepper, etc).

              But if you are going to start with a commercial soup, it is easier to start with the unsalted 'natural' ones, and add salt to taste, than to use the oversalted ones. But I rarely use the canned ones, except when camping, where the convenience is important.