There are so many things to love about giving someone special a gift of soup in a jar for the holidays. First, you made it. Handmade holidays, anyone? You put it together with care and attention, and your recipient knows it, but it isn’t going to take you forever to do this.
Second, it’s not going to break the bank. Even with organic ingredients, this present is easy on the wallet which, frankly, can’t often be said this time of year.
Third, it’s a healthy lentil soup you’re giving. A perfect antidote to the culinary, imbibing, and other excesses of the season. You might as well be piling vitamins in a jar and giving them away. But lentils are prettier.
And finally, you’re giving someone time and ease. They only have to empty the jar into a pot and add water and boil – just like that, you will have provided them with a hot lunch or dinner. Meaning, if they can make a cup of tea, they can make this nourishing and yummy soup. Meaning, they are doing next to no cooking and no cleaning to get a hot, delicious meal. Meaning, after the holidays, when they’re tuckered out and want to rest but still need to eat, this gift will do it for them with bells on. Meaning, comfort and joy, people. Comfort and joy.
There are lots of soup in a jar recipes out there, and I made and ate a lot of soup to create one I really liked. If you’re a little particular like me, you might want to test out a soup before making a gaggle of jars of it. If not, at the least you’ll know that I like this one. It also has the thumbs of Nathalie, who became an unwitting taste tester when I gave her a jar when she was under the weather last week.
If you’re making multiple jars (and why wouldn’t you?), you need to gather more supplies but it’s not much more work to make 12 jars if you’ve already set up to make 2. Soup in jars is also a great option when asked to bring food or sweets to your kids’ bake sales and winter concerts and what all to raise money for schools and activities. And if I need state the obvious, you could make a few extra jars to keep and give your own self some care and sanity come 2016.
These ingredients fill a 500 ml mason jar to the brim and make about 7 cups of soup.
Coconut Curry Lentil Soup Ingredients
2/3 cup green lentils
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup brown rice
2/3 cup red lentils
2 tsp mild curry powder
1 1/2 tsp sea salt (I like 2 tsp but you may want to err on the less salty side)
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder (kid-friendly amount – add more if your recipients enjoy heat)
Here’s what you do: Gather your 500ml (half quart) clean mason jars and line them up assembly style. Pour the four main ingredients into the jar in the order you like best – if you have a wide neck funnel, this process is even easier especially if you have little helpers like I did. You can also add the spices in whatever order you like – I like to put them in after the first (ie. bottom) layer of green lentils. The spices aren’t of sufficient quantity to make a solid layer, but they will show up unless you add them at the very end where they’ll be hidden by the rim of the screw top.
Note on Lentils: Take the time to sift through your lentils in search of small stones and other impurities. The easiest way I know to do this is to pour them slowly in a single layer against a white plate, which will readily show irregularities.
In the past, I have occasionally found little stones or husks but I have never come across a rock of this size – just look at him!
I guess it’s handy I found this would-be boulder during this lentil sift so I could highlight it for illustration/education purposes right here in this DIY article. Sifting only takes an extra minute but it’s an important step. A broken tooth does not bring good cheer!
To include on the gift tag: Add 7 cups of water (or stock) and bring to a boil. Simmer until lentils are soft. For a richer, creamier soup, add 1 cup of coconut milk. Enjoy!
Label and tie and decorate: In whatever way works for you. Happy healthy handmade holidays!