Avoiding BPA: Adventures With Your Slow Cooker

You’ve heard about BPA in canned foods, which is linked to breast cancer, early puberty in girls, diabetes, obesity, and a host of other problems. But how much BPA really gets into your body from eating canned food?

Well, a recent study found that people who ate one can of soup every day for five days increased the levels of BPA in their bodies by 1000% over people who ate freshly made soup for the same five days.

Yikes! We know canned soup is convenient – for a quick lunch, or to add to a casserole, it’s hard to beat. But until canned food manufacturers get it together to replace the BPA in linings, we ought to look elsewhere.

So this month we hope you will join us on a slow cooker adventure – learning from each other how to make fresh soups that are tasty, healthy, budget-friendly and best of all EASY! We’ll start you off with some recipes, and we’d like you to share your favorite recipe below! We’ll compile the recipes to share with our members at the end of the month.

Here are some slow cooker tips, for those of you who are new to slow cooking (or dusting the cobwebs off an old pot!)

Split Pea and Ham Soup

Look for organic ingredients when possible

• 2 cups dried split peas
• 8 cups water
• 2 cups diced ham
• 2 potatoes, chopped
• 2 ribs celery, chopped
• 2 carrots, sliced
• 1 onion, diced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 bay leaves

1. In a slow cooker, combine the peas, water, ham, carrot, celery, potatoes, bay leaves, garlic and onion.
2. Cover, and cook on High for 4 to 5 hours. Remove bay leaves before ladling into bowls.
(Note – for a vegetarian option, omit the ham and replace the water with 8 cups vegetable stock.)

Chicken Noodle Soup

Look for organic ingredients when possible

• 8 cup(s) water
• 4 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
• 4 medium stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 2 bay leaves
• 1/2 teaspoon(s) dried thyme
• Salt
• Ground black pepper
• 2 -3 pounds chicken pieces (legs, thighs, breast etc)
• 3 cup(s) egg noodles, uncooked

1. In 4 1/2- to 6-quart slow-cooker bowl, combine water, carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, thyme, 4 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place chicken pieces on top of vegetables. Cover slow cooker with lid and cook as manufacturer directs on low setting 8 to 10 hours or on high setting 4 to 5 hours.
2. Transfer chicken to cutting board. Discard bay leaves. Add noodles to slow-cooker bowl; cover with lid and cook (on low or high) 20 minutes.
3. While noodles cook, remove and discard skin, fat, and bones from chicken; shred meat.
4. Skim fat from soup and discard. Return chicken to soup to serve.