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When making pureed soups can you puree them before cooking?

The only blender I have is Back to Basics Smothie Express, which I'm pretty sure cannot handle hot mixtures (anybody know?), and really don't have the money, or space, for another gadget.

So, could I blend before cooking?

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  1. It depends but mostly-no.
    I think you have to change the texture of many things, for example carrots or cauliflower in order for them to blend easily and get creamy.
    You need to break them down.
    Raw soups, such as gazpacho are another matter and of course you don't cook the ingredients.
    Is waiting for your cooked food to cool down not possible?
    OTOH, I've taken leftover cooked starches and vegetables and pureed them cold (and added other ingredients such as stock, cream etc), then transfered them to be heated.
    If you have room in your home and budget for a stick blender, you will find it's a great bang for the buck and space.

    1. I agree with monavana - it depends but mostly no. However, you could hold some of the stock or other liquid back from the cook pot and when the soup is finished cooking add in the cold liquid to bring the temperature down faster so you can use the blender.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Fiona

        My thinking too. Almost never does a pureed soup require that ALL the cooking liquid be added before blending.

        Also, as long as the smoothie maker isn't a closed system (as in the cap forms an airtight seal on top of the blender with no place for steam pressure to escape) I would be surprised if it couldn't handle sub-boiling hot liquids.

      2. Most recipes call for you to pan roast the vegetables first, so going backwards is going to seriously alter the flavor and texture of the final product.

        But, no matter! Take the hot mixture and dump it into a medium sized container. Put the medium sized container in a large container filled with ice water. Take a small sized container that you've filled/frozen with water and dump that into the medium sized container (Most folks, myself included, just use a plastic bottle filled/frozen with water). You've got cold outside and cold inside. It won't take long for the mixture to cool down.

        1. NO. And this is why: when you heat the soup, it will be so dense that the heat/steam, instead of steadily bubbling up through the soup, is forced to make big bubbles of steam that pop, creating messy splatters.

          1. I agree that a stick (a.k.a. immersion) blender is a good solution. Mine was $10 on sale at the drug store and works just fine. But there is no reason why you cannot let your pot of soup cool or chill before blending, then just reheat the amount of soup you need to serve at that moment.

            1 Reply
            1. re: greygarious

              I bought an immersion blender at the Goodwill for about $5 and use it for just this purpose. I puree the soup right in the pot (no blender jar to clean). It doesn't take much storage space.

            2. Probably not unless you have an emulsifier or a restaurant type high speed blender, like a vitamix, HealthMaster or robocoup.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Matahari22

                which would then obviate the whole point of the original post.

                1. re: alkapal

                  I guess I know what I meant in my head, but maybe didn't phrase it well enough. I was just trying to say that the type of blender the poster mentioned, probably would not be able to, because you would need a high speed blender to make it perfectly smooth with raw ingredients. I wasn't saying I thought they should buy a new one or anything.

                  I am sorry if I didn't answer properly.

                  1. re: Matahari22

                    yes! 15 lashes with a new vitamix box. LOL.

              2. If you attempt to use the blender before the veggies or meat are thoroughly cooked you're not puréeing, you're grinding. You can do that, of course, but the results will be very different. It won't be smooth and probably not thick. Plus, if any caramelization is called for that important flavor base will be missing.

                What I'd do is cook the veggies by sweating them or in the least possible amount of liquid until they are cooked through and very soft according the recipe's method. Then, if you're concerned about how your smoothie blender can handle heat, let them cool. When they're cool, blend them with just enough liquid to keep the mixture moving.

                Meanwhile, bring the rest of the liquid called for up to the desired heat. Return the puréed mixture the pot of hot liquid. It should only take a minute or two to bring it up to temp again. Taste and correct the seasoning.

                If the size of your smoothie blender is also an issue, the veggies/meat can be puréed in batches.

                1. i ga-ront-tee that your little smoothie maker ain't gonna be grinding raw veggies. heat is the least of your worries.

                  stick blender is OK for many pureeing apps, but not all. to use your current equipment, you could cool your soup first, then puree as recommended. the full amount of liquid will help reduce strain on the motor. omitting full volume of liquids will stress your puny little smoothie motor. (though because of the volume, you may have to do in batches).

                  if you want, you can press it through a sieve, the old-fashioned way!