Make Your Own Delicious, Low-Cost Soup and Stock

Andrea Lewis - Wednesday, October 12, 2022


My mother occasionally made soup when I was growing up. I never thought about it much until about fifteen years ago when I noticed the volume of vegetable trimmings we were generating. One day we decided to start putting all the various vegetable trimmings like carrot, celery and onion ends into the freezer, along with chicken bones. When the bag filled up, we would put the mixture into the slow cooker, cover with water and make soup stock. Once the stock was ready, we would make great, healthy soup with the strained stock and whatever else we had in the house that seemed good to add to the mix.

We discovered that we were much less likely to waste food by making soup this way. We consumed many more vegetables as well. Not only did we use up the produce and meat that we had in the fridge to make soup, but we also made use of raw vegetables and bones that would otherwise go in the compost or trash. We would also freeze old lettuce and other vegetables that were almost ready for the compost bin, thus using all that material for soup stock as well.

Years later, we've made countless pots of super-nutritious, tasty soup, have saved money, improved our health and had lots of fun in the process. We now use an Instant Pot, because it can slow cook and pressure cook. Soup stock that used to take several hours on the stove or in the slow cooker now takes about two and a half hours. If I make a bean soup, I just toss the beans, vegetables, spices and soup stock into the Instant Pot using the soup stock and soup is ready to serve in about half an hour.

Cost Savings

Today I decided to estimate the cost of a 96 ounce pot of white bean soup and compare that to the cost of prepared soups from the store. The total cost of 1/4 package of organic celery, 1/4 package of conventional carrots (2 lb. package), one yellow onion (from a 3 lb. bag), one pound of white beans and some garlic and spices is about $4.00. That means $4.00 / 96 oz = $.04 per ounce. I did not add in the cost of the home made stock, because those items would normally be discarded. Compare that to:

Progresso Vegetable Classics Garden Vegetable Soup @ $3.19 for 18.5 ounces ($.17/ounce)

Wolfgang Puck White Bean Soup @ $2.89 for 14.5 ounces ($.19/ounce)

Alessi Tuscan White Bean Soup @ $2.99 for 6 ounces ($.49/ounce)

Comparisons by total price:

96 ounces of Progresso: $16.32 (savings of $12.32)

96 ounces of Wolfgang Puck: $18.24 (savings of $14.24)

96 ounces of Alessi: $47.04 (savings of $42.04)

You just can't beat the low price, fun and nutritional benefits of soup made from scratch!

Additional Benefits

There are even more benefits from making your own soup and stock at home:
  1. You get to completely control the flavor of your soup.Add spices and herbs or other ingredients, to your taste.
  2. You get to control all the ingredients, and their proportions.You can choose all organic, or not, add as many or as few vegetables as you like.
  3. You get to control how much sodium is in your soup.Most commercial soup has a high level of sodium.Add as little or as much salt as you like, including salts other than just sodium chloride.
  4. If you make a large batch of soup, you can freeze most of it in plastic containers, and if you make batches of soup on a regular basis and freeze most of it, you can enjoy all kinds of different soup whenever you want by thawing out one of the containers.
  5. In making your own soup, you are avoiding the manufacture and transportation of metal containers and packaging, another form of savings, but in this case savings for the environment.

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