Most people who make soup or broths at home will use the traditional methods. So what is the purpose of owning an electric automatic soup maker? If we look at some of the more traditional methods you will see that they offer the following methods:
- Packet soups - where you but a small package of soups in sachets and then add hot water to those and stir.
- Tinned soups - the soup comes in a tin and you can use as is, or add water and then heat it up in a post or a microwave
- Making your own - this is where you gather the ingredients, chop them up, add them to a stock and then cook the soup in a pot.
There are of course variations on these as you can make many different types of soups and use a blender or a pressure cooker to get the desired result. Now most kitchens in the UK will have a microwave and pots etc.
They may even have a blender, electric or hand style blender that they can use to get their soup looking the way they want it to. Clearly there are a lot of ways to do this as long as you have a few kitchen basics, a recipe to follow and the right ingredients.
You may well ask why bother with an actual soup maker? Given that they cost around £50 for a decent one, are they really worth the money and how do soup makers work?
The Principles of How a Soup Maker Works
Check out the video below and you will see how simple they are to use. In a nutshell you add the ingredients, select which type of soup you want, chunky broth like, smooth, blended etc and hit the on button. Come back in 20 minutes and your soup is ready. You can then enjoy a bowl of soup, and can freeze what you will not be using right away.
Typical Soup Maker Style
They look like large kettles in many ways. The basics are that it is a unit, normally stainless steel or glass body. It has a heater in the base of the appliance.
When you open the lid you will then find a blade attached to the lid, which is motorised and will spin around when the unit is switched on. The purpose of the blade is to chop and mix the ingredients.
So when you open the lid, you add the ingredients, pick a setting for the type of soup you want and then start the appliance. You can then get on with whatever else you have to do and let the soup maker do the work.
It depends on the soup type but on average it takes between 20-30 minutes to be ready. It depends on the type of soup maker but each will have a specific capacity size. That is the amount of soup they can hold and a typical one has 1.5-1.6 litre capacity
What Are the Settings on a Soup Maker?
These vary from the different brands but good ones will have something like chunky for a broth, and smooth and creamy for well blended soups. They will typically have a manual setting where you can blend a little to suit your own soup thickness. Many of these can also make smoothies using juices so normally there will be a setting for that.
The Benefits of Using a Soup Maker
Soups are most popular throughout the winter thanks to our wonderful UK climate. Many people also use healthy soups as part of a diet. Let's face it packet and tinned soup does the job, but it can get expensive and it just tastes ok.
With a soup maker you can chop up the vegetables as an example, add some stock and push a button. Around 20 minutes later you have great tasting fresh soup, and one appliance to quickly clean.
Some people will use a slow cooker and a hand blender and of course that works really well. The disadvantages of that is you now have two appliances to clean, and if you have ever tried to blend hot soup, then you will know how hard that can be to avoid splashing and burns.
In addition to that you also have to dig out the slow cooker, and the blender whereas with a soup maker, you just get one gadget, put the ingredients in and let it do the work. With a soup maker it is easy to use and easy to clean.
Personally I think these are a great gadget to have in your kitchen. If you are someone who would have soup 2- 3 times a week then this will make your life a great deal easier. If you only have soup a couple of times a month, then save your money and spend it on something else.
I have one as I take soup to work for lunch most days. I normally make a couple of different soups at the weekend which takes about an hour. Then I divide them up into portions and freeze them. Then when I go to work, I use a microwave to heat them up and have the soup for lunch.
That allows me to make good use of the soup maker and also have a nice variation of the many different types of soup.
Tips on Using Your Soup Maker
- For best results cut all ingredients into thinner slices or 1" sized diced
- Always make sure that you have put in the minimum amount to avoid burning and sticking
- Always make sure that you do not go over the maximum fill on your soup maker
- Allow the soup maker to cool before cleaning
- Always unplug the soup maker before cleaning (yes people have done this)
- Do not put these in a dishwasher
- Stock cubes added to boiling water make a nice quick stock for your soup
- On sauté soup makers, add a little oil for this process to prevent burning
- Don't forget adding noodles or pasta heated in a microwave make a nice addition to many soups