Soup Broth – A Modern Tragedy

Why I Hate Soup Broth

Nothing gets my blood boiling like a discussion of Soup broth. While learning to cook, I religiously followed recipes. If it called for chicken broth, I bought chicken broth. I would spend hours reading nutritional labels looking for the healthiest option. I came to one simple conclusion. Store bought broth is fat, corn syrup, salt, and water. To this day, I cannot figure out how these companies can charge so much money for so little substance. Worse yet, the prepared broth is one of the unhealthiest items you can purchase in a grocery store.

Soup broth is nothing more than overpriced flavored salt water!”
 Bob Loescher

Basic Ingredient List

Here are the ingredients of a famous chicken soup broth brand. Direct from their label.

CHICKEN BROTH, SALT, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, DEXTROSE, YEAST EXTRACT, CHICKEN FLAVOR, FLAVORING, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, AUTOLYZED YEAST EXTRACT, CHICKEN FAT, HYDROLYZED SOY PROTEIN, CHICKEN BROTH POWDER.

I should not have to go any farther but I want to know what the hell is the difference between chicken broth, chicken flavor, and chicken broth powder? What is yeast extract versus autolyzed yeast extract? Salt and monosodium glutamate? Moreover, the food companies charge premium prices for this formula. I am not going to bother discussing any logic. Just dig a 6-foot hole and bury me now!

The Kitchen Tradition

I laugh at how many TV chefs use broth like golden nectar. I am reminded of the two turkey proverb. A young husband watches his new bride cook two turkeys for Thanksgiving. He lovingly asks her why she is cooking two turkeys. She responds, “Because that is how my Mom taught me.” Later, his mother-in-law comes. He asks her the same question. And she responds, “Because that is how my Mom taught me.” Finally, Grandma arrives. Wanting a better explanation, he asks her. With a grin, she responds, “Because I did not have a big enough oven to cook one big turkey”. Here is the point. Originally, the broth was made with more natural ingredients. No genetically modified corn syrup or corn starch. Pure yeast. Range free Chickens. At the time, canned broth became a convenient way to avoid the work of making your own broth. It evolved into an experiment in a chemistry lab!

The Simple Answer – Make Your Own

Want to know how to make soup broth? My reply is simple: Follow a basic formula, use fresh ingredients and always think ahead. To start with, use water, oil and vinegar. Choose a leafy green spice like parsley, cilantro, or oregano. Add a small minced onion. Add a touch of fruit juice usually lemon or lime but you can be inventive. Bring the mixture to a boil and then cook on medium for 30 minutes. Remove all the solid material by draining through a wire strainer. At this point, you can choose the type of broth – Beef, Chicken, Fish, Pork or Vegetarian. Add leftover chicken, bacon grease, pork chop bones or whatever you have available. Add more water, bring to a boil and cook on medium for 30 minutes. Again, remove the solids with the wire strainer. Seal the liquid in an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator.

A few points about this mixture:

  • It does not taste good on its’ own. It is designed to be a base for soups and sauces.
  • It has no salt. Add salt when creating your soup or sauce.
  • It works just as well as premade soup broth mixtures.
  • It does not contain any “crap”. (see ingredient list above)
  • It will lose its’ potency after three weeks or so. Throw it out.

Soup Broth - Make Your Own
By Debs from Bellevue, WA, USA (Chicken Noodle) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


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