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Nov 29, 2016 04:38PM

Stir it up: Learn to make soup with Greatest Grains

By Jonathan Turner
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Greatest Grains will offer a presentation on making soup from scratch at this year's Radish Winter Wellness Festival.
Next time you're at the grocery store, stock up on some of your favorite ingredients and whip up your own super soup to warm your body, fill your soul and leave some needed room in your wallet.

Greatest Grains co-owner Julie Martens will demonstrate how to make two soups at 2:30 p.m. at the Radish Winter Wellness Festival, on Saturday, Dec. 10.

She's bowled over by homemade soups — compared to store-bought — because "you can monitor the ingredients and seasonings, it's inexpensive and it tastes better," Martens says.

"You can make more volume," she says. "And for example, salt would be a good item to watch how much you put in. Some people have to watch their salt intake, and most soups that are pre-made are full of salt." Homemade soups are better tasting because "they are fresher," she adds.

Because January is National Soup Month, Martens also has offered a Soup's On class every January at Greatest Grains for about 15 years. Of her three dozen soup recipes, the Davenport store and eatery offers three varieties of homemade soups every day.

"We try to hit all diets — vegan, vegetarian ones, meat ones," she says.

Recent soup recipes on greatestgrains.com were for chili-style lentil, coconut curried lentil and chickpea, tomatillo black bean and quinoa, chicken noodle and sweet potato chili.

At the Radish festival, Martens will lead a discussion on hot, healthy soups as she demonstrates how to make two — likely one vegetarian and one with meat.

"To be honest, I have a couple standards," she says, adding that she'll also see what's trending on Pinterest and other food websites. "I usually do some kind of a bean soup ... and I usually do something with poultry."

Popular winter soups usually are heartier, Martens says. In fall and winter, she likes using seasonal veggies, such as pumpkin or some other kind of squash. Chicken and sausage always are popular in soups, too, she says.

If you are not a seasoned cook, soups are a good (and more manageable) first step to culinary greatness, Martens says. She hopes the Radish demo will offer positive exposure to what Greatest Grains has to offer.

The first 25 attendees to attend will receive a free gift, while supplies last.

If you enjoy the demo at the festival, check out more recipes at the Soup's On class on Jan. 22 at 1 p.m. at the store, 1600 N. Harrison St., Davenport.

Contributor Jonathan Turner is a writer on staff with The Dispatch and Rock Island Argus newspapers.

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