Beat the fall cooking blahs with a soup swap! Here’s how.
It is positively brisk outside these days, and nothing warms you up from the inside like a piping hot bowl of soup. The trouble with soup is that the canned variety can be awfully salty and kind of boring, and we’re often too busy around the holidays to cook up lots of soups ourselves. Soup swap to the rescue!
Instead of cooking up batch after batch of soup, you can team up with some friends! Everyone cooks up one giant batch of his or her very best soup, packages it up in quart-sized containers, and on swap day, everyone trades up!
Organizing Your Soup Swap
There are a 3 keys to planning a successful soup swap. You need someone in charge of coordinating and to host the swap, and there are a few things you’ll want to decide:
- How many quarts of soup are people making? Soup swaps are best when everyone brings the same amount of soup.
- Do any participants have dietary restrictions? Not everyone needs to adhere to folks’ restrictions, but it helps to know up front what your soup audience is.
- What snacks will you serve? Talking about soup is bound to make everyone hungry, so have some snacks and drinks available at your swap.
Once everyone knows how much soup to make and what ingredients (if any) they need to avoid, you can all get cooking!
Next>> Making Your Soup
Image Credit: Photo by Becky Striepe
Making Your Soup
You can really make any soup you like for your soup swap! The real trick is making enough soup. Four to 6 quarts is a good amount for a soup swap.
When my friends and I did a swap last month, we decided on 6 quarts of soup apiece. That means that I came in with 6 containers of one sort of soup, and now my freezer is full of 6 different soups to eat on busy evenings! Well, make that one quart, because we’ve devoured most of the soups we got. Here are a few soup ideas to get you going. You’ll have to multiply these recipes, depending on how many quarts you guys agree on.
Six quarts is a LOT of soup. I doubled my soup recipe and still only ended up with 4 quarts and had to do an emergency last minute soup-making afternoon to make sure I’d have enough. Check your recipe’s yield and do a little bit of math to make sure that you don’t come up short.
If you have a big enough soup pot, go for it! You can also make things easier on yourself by using a crock pot or pressure cooker instead. Once all of that soup is ready to rock, you need to package it! I have a few suggestions on the next page.
Next>> Packaging Your Soup
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by geishabot
Packaging Your Soup
For your soup packaging, you have a few options. If you happen to have 6 quart-sized containers in your stash, you can just use those! You’ll be getting containers back anyway, so you should end up about even (unless your stuff is really nice). What I did for my soup swap was pick up some quart-sized Mason jars. They weren’t too pricey, and I felt much better ladling my hot soup into glass jars rather than plastic, since heat can make the plastic leach into the food.
Some folks at the swap used upcycled containers, like big yogurt tubs, for their soups.
In addition to packaging, you’ll want to include your recipe or at least a list of ingredients. That way, anyone with dietary restrictions will be able to make sure that they can eat your soup.
OK, the soup is done, it’s portioned out and labeled….you’re ready to swap! Here’s the super fun way my friends and I did ours.
Image Credit: Photo by Becky Striepe
We had more people than we had quarts of soup, so not everyone got to take every soup home with them, and that’s OK! Instead, our hostess made this into a fun game. It was sort of like White Elephant, but without the stealing. We filled out sheets with our soup name and indicated if it was vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, or none of the above. Then, the swap began! Here are the steps:
1. Gather your guests into the room where the soup is all laid out on the table. Go around the room and let everyone introduce their soups. For extra fun, make up names for your soups!
2. People get to choose in the order that they drew their number. Have each person take a turn heading over to the table and grabbing a soup.
3. Once everyone’s got their first soup, you can either start again with the same numbers or draw numbers again. Continue until the table is bare!
If you have a big group like we did, the swapping can take quite a while. You can go more simply, and just set folks loose to trade soups. We’ve done that in the past, and it was also really fun. Really, it’s about hanging out with people you love talking about good food!
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by garryknight