Is a Soup Maker a Must-Have or a Dud?

Is a Soup Maker a Must-Have or a Dud?

Is there anything better than a piping hot bowl of soup on a chilly night, or a chilled masterpiece during the Summer months?
Yes! Soup that doesn’t come from a can. One quick way to make soup is to use a blender to pulverize and blend your ingredients in one go and then heating your concoction on the stove. Or, there’s another contraption on the market that can whip up a batch of soup at the simple press of a button – a soup maker. But, is it a must-have, or a waste of cash? We find out.

How does a soup maker work?

A soup maker is an all-in-one appliance that combines various blending functions, to make your soup chunky or smooth (or however you like it), with a heating element or friction blades to cook a batch of soup in about 20 to 30 minutes. Soup makers typically resemble a blender or kettle.

What’s the point of a soup maker?

A soup maker takes the hassle out of making soup. It requires minimal time and effort, which is perfect for busy families and anyone who isn’t fond of cooking. All you need to do is chuck in your ingredients, add stock and other condiments, sear (if required) and let the soup maker take care of the rest.

Most soup makers have a variety of settings and features to create varying consistencies and textures, or specific recipes, like pumpkin or tomato soup. Basic models typically only have a boiling and blending function with limited consistency settings, which is why most people stick to making soup with a blender.

What’s the difference between a soup maker and a blender?

Isn’t a soup maker just a glorified blender? Yes and no. While you can make soup in a blender, it typically only does about half of the job of blending, but not heating or cooking ingredients. Some blenders do come pretty close though, as some models have a high enough speed setting, that the friction from the blender can heat the soup slowly.

A soup maker works a little differently. It’s designed specifically for the purpose of making soup (and smoothies), and uses the friction of spinning blades to heat the soup and blend all your ingredients simultaneously. Soup makers also feature time and temperature settings, so you can set your soup to cook and come back when it’s ready. Some soup makers also come with a full-fledged heating element to sauté foods like onions or meat, a keep warm setting and pre-cleaning mode.

How much does a soup maker cost?

Soup makers cost roughly the same as blenders, with prices starting from $70 and reaching up to $300 or more, for models with more capacity and multiple preset functions. If you’re serious about soup, it may be worth to fork out more for a model which features smart connectivity which will give you access to recipes and cooking tips for your appliance.

Can you put raw meat in a soup maker?

You should pre-cook all meats (including fish) before putting them in a soup maker, because the heat settings on most models simply aren’t high enough to cook meat thoroughly. A good way to skip this step is to use any leftover meat from other meals to make a hearty soup. This also reduces food waste. With that said, there are models out there, like the Morphy Richards Total Control Soup Maker, which comes with a heating element that allows you to fry up small quantities of raw meat (less than 200g).

Can you put frozen veggies in a soup maker?

Small amounts of frozen veggies (less than 100g, about 4oz) like peas or carrots, should be ok to go in the soup maker with a hot broth. As a rule of thumb, avoid putting large quantities of frozen veggies in a soup maker, because a) this could damage the blades of your appliance and b) because it could slow the cooking process all together. If you want to play it safe, just let your ingredients fully thaw before popping them in the soup maker.

5 reasons to use a soup maker

#1 − It saves time and effort: Making soup from scratch can be very time consuming. It typically involves chopping up your ingredients and simmering everything using different pots and pans, while keeping an eye on the cooking time etc. A soup maker does all that for you at the press of a button.

#2 − It saves on the washing up: Instead of washing up a frying pan, pots and a blender; all you’ll have is a jug and blade to clean!

#3 – It’s versatile: Soup makers don’t just make soup. They can also make smoothies, milkshakes, batters, dips and even baby food. Blenders still typically have way more functionally though.

#4 – It helps reduce food waste: If you often find yourself with random leftovers in your fridge, making soup is the perfect way to use up that food and minimize waste. Chuck everything in the soup maker, add broth, spices and make yourself a hearty chowder or gumbo.

#5 – It saves space in the kitchen. A soup maker is sleeker and more compact in design than a blender, which means it can fit in even the tiniest of cupboards.

Features to look out for in a soup maker


One liter of soup is equivalent to about three servings. If you’re planning to make a batch for the whole family, make sure your soup maker has at least a 1.5L capacity.

Functions and programs

The more preset programs and functions you have, the more options you’ll have in terms of consistency and finish. Some soup makers come with a sauté function that allows you to fry some ingredients at the start. Look for models that have various blending options and specific programs for stews etc., as well as a keep warm function and pause button, in case you want to add ingredients last minute.

Easy clean

Most soup maker parts aren’t dishwasher safe, which means you’ll have to handwash. Look for a model with comes with a non-stick base and a glass jug (instead of plastic), which should make the clean-up easier. There are also models on the market that come with an auto-clean function!

How long does it take to make soup in a soup maker?

From start to finish, it should take you roughly 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your cooking/blending setting. Chunky soup typically takes the longest to cook. Making soup using a blender takes maybe 10 or 20 minutes more.

Is a soup maker worth it?

If you’re serious about soup, and more specifically, making soup with minimal effort, then a soup maker is totally worth it. It’s as simple as prepping your ingredients and just pressing ‘cook’ and you can have yourself a batch of soup in 20 minutes, while you watch TV. As mentioned, soup makers can also make smoothies, jams and other foods, which makes them versatile.

Contributor: Megan Birot (abridged)

Infant Formula Shortage: Why It

Infant Formula Shortage: Why It’s Happening and What Parents Can Do

  • At least 40 percent of infant formula is out of stock.
  • The Biden administration says it is working to address the shortage.
  • Over 40 percent of baby formula is currently out of stock across the country, according to Datasembly.

The issue behind the formula shortage is two-fold. First is the widespread supply chain issue due to the pandemic, which has affected everything from cars to Nutella.

To make matters worse, in February, the FDA closed Abbott Nutrition’s Michigan factory after Abbott voluntarily recalled brands of its formula. The formula was tied to a bacterial infection that was linked to the deaths of at least two infants.

Abbott produces Similac, a routine milk-based formula, as well as Similac Advance and other specialty formulas for babies with certain allergies.

How the government is responding to the crisis

President Joe Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act in an effort to ramp up production of infant formula amid the shortage.

The efforts include speeding up the production of infant formula and authorizing flights to bring in a supply from abroad.

This week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced they have come to an agreement with Abbott.

Under a proposed consent decree, the company will take corrective actions proposed by the FDA, including having an independent expert review their facility operations and testing requirements.

This will allow them to reopen the closed factory soon.

In a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, President Biden has instructed both agencies to help the Pentagon to identify formula from abroad that meets the standards of the U.S.

This is to be carried out over the next week.

Chartered Defense Department flights will then begin bringing formula to stock the shelves and fill the orders in the United States. This will help to close the gap until production can get back to regular levels at home.

The House of Representatives has passed two bills to address the shortage, as well.

One allows the Agriculture Secretary to waive requirements for the special supplement nutrition program for lower income women, infants, and children, which is known as WIC.

This bill requires formula manufacturers have contingency plans for protecting against supply disruptions.

The second bill is to provide an additional $28 million to the FDA to help pull recalled formula products off the shelves and enhance FDA inspection staff.

Both bills are headed to the Senate.

The FDA said in a statement Monday that they are also talking with other companies that make infant formula, including Gerber, about increasing production.

“Gerber has reported that it increased the amount of their infant formula available to consumers by approximately 50 percent in March and April and Reckitt is supplying more than 30 percent more product year to date,” the FDA said in the statement. The FDA also said they will take other steps to try and increase access to formula, including expediting certain certificates in order for formula supply from abroad to be sold in the U.S.

What does the formula shortage mean for parents?

“This has led to parents struggling to find appropriate formulas for their kids. They are traveling out of their geographic areas and ordering products online, where not everything meets the same standards as formulas produced in the U.S.,” said Dr. Matthew Harris, who practices in pediatric emergency medicine, emergency medical services, and pediatrics at Northwell Health’s Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York.

Rebecca Romero, RD, LD, CLC, on the clinical nutrition and lactation team at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, said parents are having difficulty getting enough formula to feed their children.

“Due to the infant formula shortage, parents are facing the very serious problem of not having enough formula available to feed their children,” added Romero. “Many stores are having supply issues and parents are being forced to drive store to store to find their child’s formula. Additionally, we are seeing an increase in families preparing homemade formula or mixing foods not intended for infants with formula, which can be very risky and compromise the developing infant’s health.”

What to look for during the formula shortage

If your child uses a standard, milk-based powdered formula, several alternatives are available besides Abbott’s recalled formulas.

For children taking a specific formula, such as one for a milk protein allergy, experts recommend looking for a similar, alternative formula for what their child is currently taking.

It is important to select a FDA-approved formula, meaning it meets safety standards and is specifically designed to provide appropriate nutrition for infants. If parents are unsure of what product would be considered a safe alternative, they should talk to their child’s healthcare provider or dietitian for guidance,” said Romero. Harris noted that other companies, like Enfamil, for example, or other U.S.-produced milk-based formulas have very little difference and would be considered safe to use as an alternative.

“As a father of an infant who has a milk protein allergy, which is very common, they cannot take standard formulas, which are all increasingly difficult to find in powdered form,” he said. “We have been successful finding liquid formulas on Amazon; however, these liquid-based formulas can be more expensive for families facing financial distress.”

Right now, parents can also look at ordering online from known entities, like Amazon, Walmart, and CVS.

What parents should avoid

While this is incredibly stressful for parents as they try to provide appropriate nutrition for their children, experts emphasize that parents should avoid diluting formula or ordering products from unknown online retailers.

“What we want to avoid is parents extending the life of the powder formula by adding water and diluting it,” said Harris. “That is not good for children because it causes low sodium, and that can lead to seizures, which can be life-threatening. Never dilute formula, hard stop.”

Another tip is to not order formulas from websites that may not deliver products certified in the United States. Formulas produced in the U.S. that use a typical 20 calorie-per-ounce, milk-based formula have very little difference from each other.

Harris also recommends double checking any Similac product that parents do happen to find to make sure it’s not part of the recall.

“There are still products on the shelves that are part of the recall that may not have been taken down,” he said.

The FDA has also issued warnings against using homemade formula since it isn’t regulated and can be contaminated or lack key nutrients. In a 2021 warning, the FDA said some infants fed homemade formula were hospitalized due to low calcium.

“These problems are very serious, and the consequences range from severe nutritional imbalances to foodborne illnesses, both of which can be life-threatening,” the FDA said in the 2021.

What to know about the recalled products

If parents do happen to find Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare powdered infant formula products, here is what they can check to ensure it is not recalled:

  • the first two digits of the code are 22 through 37
  • the code on the container contains K8, SH, or Z2
  • the expiration date is 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later

In addition, Abbott Nutrition has recalled Similac PM 60/40 with a lot code of 27032K80 (can) / 27032K800 (case). Parents can also enter the product lot code on the company’s website to check.

“As healthcare providers, we are aware of the severity of this shortage and how it is impacting families,” said Romero. “Providers are working closely with families daily to help provide support and guidance to ensure their children are receiving appropriate and adequate formula. Families should make sure to talk to their child’s healthcare provider or dietitian if guidance is needed.”

Contributor: Meagan Drillinger,

Study Supports Colonoscopies for Women Under 50

Study Supports Colonoscopies for Women Under 50

Claremont Colonic Newsletter
Colonoscopies in Younger Women Can Significantly Cut Their Risk of Colon Cancer, a New Study Claims.
“While there’s been an alarming increase in the incidence of colorectal cancer in recent decades in younger individuals, screening has largely been focused on people over 50,” noted senior study author Dr. Andrew Chan, a gastroenterologist and epidemiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States. While the overall number of colon cancer cases has declined, the rate among people younger than 50 rose by 51% between 1974 and 2013.

In recent years, the American Cancer Society and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force have recommended colon cancer screening begin at age 45.

Chan and his colleagues analyzed data from nearly 112,000 U.S. women in the Nurses’ Health Study II. They found that women who started screening at age 45 had a 50% to 60% lower risk of developing colon cancer than those who had no screening.

Also, those who started screening at ages 45 to 49 had much lower rates of colon cancer through age 60 than those who began screening at ages 50 to 54, according to the study.

While the findings are from women, the same benefits likely apply to men, according to Chan.

“Our work provides first-of-its-kind data to show that initiating screening at a younger age can reduce an individual’s risk of colorectal cancer and the population’s overall incidence of cancer, thus demonstrating the substantial impact of earlier screening on both individual and population-wide scales,” Chan said in a hospital news release.

The findings were published May 5 in the journal JAMA Oncology.

Colonoscopy is an invasive procedure, but noninvasive stool-based screening tests are also available. “Any trepidation that clinicians might have had about the effectiveness of CRC [colon cancer] screening at a younger age will hopefully be allayed by these results,” Chan said.

“Our data show that we have an effective tool to address the epidemic of colorectal cancer among younger adults, and hopefully this will encourage physicians to have a conversation about screening with their younger patients which, in turn, will motivate them to follow through and get screened,” he said.

More information:

There’s more about colon cancer screening at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

Contributor: Robert Preidt U.S. News & World Report

Everything You Need to Know to Fight Sunburns, Premature Aging and Skin Cancer This Summer

Everything You Need to Know to Fight Sunburns, Premature Aging and Skin Cancer This Summer

Claremont Colonic Clinic Newsletter
The bright red spot, tender skin, days of peeling — it’s only part of the sun damage story.
Sunburns are the most immediately annoying evidence of too much time spent unprotected in the sun, but what we often don’t see right away is the accelerated skin aging and risk of skin cancer that can go along with them.

“Unfortunately, skin cancer rates are still rising, and we do everything we can to try to minimize that, and using sunscreen is one component of that,” said Dr. Darrell Rigel, clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine in New York City.

The Environmental Working Group released its annual guide to sunscreen use Thursday, with lists of its recommended sunscreens, including options for kids, mineral and nonmineral varieties, and moisturizers and lip balms with SPF. The EWG does not make revenue from these lists, according to a spokesperson.

The guide comes in time for the warmer months, as many people begin to spend more time outside, but good sun protection is important even if it’s cool or cloudy, and whether you are sitting by a window, out skiing, or at the beach, dermatologists said.

“Obviously, summertime we are more exposed to more sun, but any given day we should be conscious of the fact that ultraviolet radiation is an established, well-known carcinogen, aside from the fact that it can accelerate the aging of skin,” said Dr. Adam Friedman, professor and chair of the department of dermatology at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Who needs it?

Short answer: everyone.

Longer answer: Darker skin does provide more protection against the sun, but that doesn’t mean it is completely immune to sun damage, the experts said.

According to US data, people of color are at a lower risk for melanoma than White people, but they still face a risk, Rigel said.

And if you look up images of a sunburn, you are likely to see the condition’s bright red marks on pale skin, but that has to do with a lack of representation, Friedman said. Sunburns can appear on all skin types — in many colors — and can result in premature aging for anyone.

The problem is that representation is also limited in sun protection. Even on light skin, sunscreen often goes on thick, heavy and too white. For people of color, it’s still more problematic.

“There’s not one product that is going to be appropriate for everyone,” Friedman said. “Finding one that plays nice on the skin is not always easy.”

Fortunately, some mineral-based sunscreens are coming out with lines that are tinted to try to match skin tones, but Friedman said it’s important to shop around and find one that feels good and matches your complexion, so that you will use it regularly. Some mineral-based sunscreens also go on clear.

“The best sunscreen is the one you will use again and again and again,” he said.

How to apply

One application should use about an ounce — or one shot glassful — of sunscreen, said Carla Burns, EWG’s senior director for cosmetic science.

“We recommend opting for lotions (over) stick products, it is a lot easier to get that adequate even layer of protection,” she added.

There are two types of sunscreens, Rigel said, the kind you use every day and those you use when you plan to spend prolonged time outside.

In everyday wear, Friedman recommended finding products that double up as moisturizers or makeup with SPF to ensure that you make sun protection an easy part of your routine.

If you are heading out for a day in the sun, Burns said it’s important to remember to reapply your sunscreen every two hours — or after playing in the water — to maintain the right level of protection.

In either case, sun protection should go anywhere that skin is exposed to the sun — that could mean your face, hands, ears or the part in your hair. And your lips and the surfaces around your eyes are thin and vulnerable to sun damage, so make sure they have SPF protection, too, Friedman said.

What SPF to look for

“You want at least an SPF 35 — that’s a minimum,” Rigel said.

But is there a maximum? Well, that is where the experts differed in their advice.

The EWG recommended against really high SPF sunscreens, saying that they can mislead people into thinking that they can be out in the sun for a longer period of time without reapplying.

And no, you can’t stay out longer if you have on an SPF 100, Rigel agreed. But he said he often recommends his patients opt for the higher number as a safety net.

What to look for on the label

There is no such thing as a waterproof sunscreen, so Rigel said to look for a water-resistant product instead.

And when it comes to fighting premature aging and skin cancer — not just sunburn — it’s crucial to make sure that your sunscreen has broad spectrum UVA/UVB coverage, Friedman said.

The EWG recommends mineral-based sunscreens. The ingredients to look for to find those products are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, Burns said.

Are there ingredients to avoid?

Some nonmineral sunscreens use an ingredient called oxybenzone, which has been linked in some studies to harm to marine life.

Some countries and regions have prohibited the sale of products containing oxybenzone in the past few years due to environmental concerns, Burns said.

What reinforcements to add

Sunscreens are helpful tools to protect against sun damage and skin cancer, but they are not the only ones.

When possible, it can also be helpful to wear a hat, cover with clothing, avoid hours when the sun is at its peak (from 10 a.m to 4 p.m.) and stay in the shade, said Emily Spilman, a science analyst for the healthy living team at the EWG.

Contributor: By Madeline Holcombe, CNN