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Canned Evaporated Milk Is The One-Way Ticket To Creamier Soup

Bowl of creamy soup
Bowl of creamy soup - Kritchai7752/Shutterstock

The cold winter months are the perfect time to treat yourself to hearty soups. Among the many types you can make are decadent varieties such as a golden clam chowder or cream of chicken soup — and one easy way to increase their creaminess and add some nuance to their flavor is to use evaporated milk.

If you're not familiar with it, evaporated milk is simply regular milk that has had roughly 60% of its water content removed through cooking. It is then homogenized and canned. The heating process yields a liquid that's thicker and a little bit sweeter than fresh milk, with subtle caramel notes. Additionally, it has a slightly brown color and a luxurious mouthfeel.

Incorporating evaporated milk into your soups infuses them with depth, and creates a richer dish. Plus, since much of the water has been evaporated, the dairy won't separate when added to soups, which is a common issue when working with heavy cream as an alternative.

Read more: Canned Soups You Should And Shouldn't Buy

What To Know About Using Evaporated Milk In Soup

Bowl of evaporated milk
Bowl of evaporated milk - Atlasstudio/Getty Images

In many creamy soup recipes, heavy cream or half-and-half is used to give the dish its rich taste and luxurious texture. To substitute with evaporated milk, you can simply swap one for the other in a 1:1 ratio, but it's worth noting that while many recipes suggest adding heavy cream towards the end of cooking, evaporated milk can be incorporated at the beginning. For example, when making clam chowder, you can mix in the evaporated milk when you add the shellfish rather than right before serving.

Additionally, it's important to be aware that evaporated milk comes in several varieties, based on whether it's made from fat-free or whole milk. Either type can be used in your soups to achieve a rich and flavorful result — just make sure not to confuse evaporated milk with condensed milk. Although both come in cans, they are actually quite different. Like evaporated milk, condensed milk is also heated to remove water content, but sugar is added during its production, resulting in a sweet flavor and much thicker consistency than evaporated milk. Due to these differences, you cannot swap one for the other.

Other Ways To Add Richness To Your Soups

Creamy mushroom soup
Creamy mushroom soup - nadianb/Shutterstock

If you don't have evaporated milk on hand, there are still a few other ingredients you can use to give your soups a creamy texture. For one, you can make some yourself. Simply boil two and a quarter cups of milk until it reduces to one cup. This is a great option if you're not a fan of the preservatives and additives often found in canned products. Another easy way to get an evaporated milk substitute is to use powdered milk. If you opt for powdered milk, reduce the amount of water you'd usually add to the powder by 40% to achieve a slightly thicker result. To get some caramel notes, you could even experiment with toasted milk powder.

Alternatively, for a vegan option, coconut milk can be a suitable substitute. Its slightly thicker texture, higher fat content, and sweet, nutty flavor can make it a great choice for those who are dairy-free. Regardless of which option you choose, you're bound to create a rich, tasty soup.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.