Thursday, 8 March 2018

How To Make Dehydrated Soup Mix

My wife and I both love eating soup, it makes for a great lunch with a fresh roll or for a warming tea. 
 The other night I made a huge batch of squash soup for tea. Some of my squash have just started to go bad so it was time to use them up. In the end I made about 6 litres of soup and it was really tasty!

I have no real set recipe for soup, I tend to just make it up as I go alone with what I have to hand. This one contained half a Oregon Homestead Squash (about 4kg I'd guess), three large onions, 6 cloves of garlic, a couple of white beetroots (so as to not colour the soup), one massive carrot and enough water to cover the lot. I then left it cooking until everything was soft and tender.

I blitzed this soup to make it thick and smooth.

There was far too much for us to eat in one go so afterwards I got thinking about how to preserve it. I did think about canning it, but I had the kids running round at the time and thought using so much boiling water with a little one clinging to my leg wouldn't be a good idea. Also canning in the UK is still quite expensive due to the cost of the jars and the lids, also I haven't that many canning jars free at the moment.

Then I decided on dehydrating it, I thought it would be great to have our own dehydrated soup mix, kind of like a cup-a-soup, that could be used for easy lunches or for camping, they'd be great for my wife to take to work with her as well.
So once the soup had cooled I ladled it out onto the silicone type sheets I've got for my dehydrator. The dehydrator I use for this is my nine tray Excalibur but others will do the same but times and temperatures may have to be adjusted to suit.

Each sheet got three ladles full of soup, enough for a bowl full. This makes portioning it up later on a much easier job. I managed to fill 8 trays out of the nine that my dehydrator has (nith one had to be filled with tinned pineapple - rude not to!).
Getting it to the right level of dryness is always an art. I had read somewhere to dry it to a leather type consistency but I decided to go for the longer life option and dry it down so it was crisp and brittle. That means there's no moisture left in it and it's shelf life is greatly increased, it spent around 20 hours in the dehydrator at 57 degrees C to make sure it was completely dry, it could spend less time but this just worked with when I woke up! 
I then broke it into flakes ready for packaging, each sheet that had three ladles of soup makes up one portion.

I haven't broken it down into a powder for two reasons, with a larger surface area its more likely to loose quality and (the main reason) I don't have a food processor yet!

I'd imagine that having it as a powder would mean it would dissolve much faster though when making it up to eat so I might look at doing this in the future.
 I then set about packaging the soup mixes. I vac packed mine to make sure all the air was removed from the packaging. The next batch I do might be for longer life storage and if it is I might add a 50cc oxygen absorber as well, I'd imagine the shelf life would be many years if I did this.
8 portions of soup ready to be used when we want.
It it pointless storing it if you've never tried it so yesterday lunch time I decided to make up a bowl full of soup.
I broke it up even finer in the bag and poured it into the bowl. It became very apparent that I'd basically made up goldfish food flakes!
I then added enough boiling water to make a bowl full, stirred it and then microwaved it for an extra  minute to get it really hot. I covered it and let it rest for five minutes.

I was totally shocked when I ate it.

Even though there was a few lumps where the soup mix hadn't quite dissolved fully, it was thick like the original soup.

Tasting it was just like eating the original soup as well! I couldn't quite believe it, I thought that the taste would have changed somewhere along the line but it really hadn't.
So with very little effort I'd managed to turn 8 bowl fulls of soup into 8 tiny packets of dried mix that will last for years and take up very little space.

A great way to preserve a glut or in this case a great way to use up some veg that would have been wasted otherwise, as it was starting to turn. It's also great that it doesn't take up any space in the freezer and is good no matter what the power situation is during a storm or a blackout as it only takes a cup of hot water to bring it back to life.

Also a great option for anyone does a lot of camping (or preppers with bug out bags) as it's very light weight and takes up very little space but still contains something that's full of goodness and will help to fill you up as well as having a really long shelf life.

Have you dehydrated soups or any other meals ready to re hydrate later?

What method did you use? Any hints or tips that you can share would be great! And other recipe ideas would be amazing!


  1. What a good idea, Kev, I still have lots of butternut squash left over from last year's harvest, and although they are keeping well I would like to get them used up. So, following your example, I shall have a go at making them into dehydrated soup mixes

    1. Brilliant let me know how you get on and what you think of it!

  2. That’s a really useful idea. We have acquired a second hand dehydrator but not really explored its possibilities yet. What about a ‘getting started with dehydrators’ type post ?

    1. Good idea, when I get chance I'll draft one up. To be honest after having a dehydrator for over ten years I'm still finding new things to do with it!

  3. Kev you are bloody brilliant!!

    1. Nonsense! Just too tight to buy stuff!

  4. This is such a great idea! We freeze our veg gluts, but this would be so useful and save space in our freezers.

    1. Also one less thing to worry about when the power goes off! I like that my wife can leave a bunch in her desk and always have something if she forgets her lunch

  5. Replies
    1. Great! Let me know how you get on!

  6. I've dehydrated tomato sauce but not soup- brilliant idea. I'll have a go at that!


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