Soup season is here! I love the idea of spending a day in the kitchen making homemade broth from vegetables, or stock from clean animal bones. But if you’re tight for time, bouillon cubes are the next best choice to make your soup or stew rich with flavour. BUT WAIT! Bouillon cubes aren’t all created equally! Check out this quick product comparison to help you make a great choice.
What’s in a Cube?
Bouillon bases provide a concentrated flavouring of whatever base you want for your soup or dish. Commonly you’ll find vegetable, beef, chicken, or mushroom cubes. Essentially they are dehydrated stock, so they should contain things you’d normally use to make a regular stock like vegetables, salt, oil, potentially animal fat (from meat or bones), herbs and spices. Let’s check out the ingredients in the following cubes to see how they measure up….
Here’s the ingredient listing for Oxo Beef Sachets – “Corn syrup solids, salt, monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed soy/corn protein, natural flavour, colour, canola oil, onion powder, beef extract, calcium silicate, maltodextrin, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, spice, yeast extract, lactic acid and sulphites”
Yowza! Except for onion powder, the rest of this list mystifies me. MSG has been implicated in digestive problems, food sensitivities/reactions, and even could play a role in childhood behavioural issues. And corn syrup as the first ingredient? Downright unacceptable.
Ingredient listing for Knorr Vegetable Cubes – “Salt, modified palm oil, monosodium glutamate, autolyzed yeast extract, sugar, onion & garlic powder, corn starch, water, dehydrated vegetables (cabbage, carrots, parsley), spices, colour, disodium inosinate, citric acid.”
Yay, there’s some vegetables in here! Not as bad as OXO but could be better. FYI, disodium inosinate is a flavour enhancer used to enhance savoury taste. It is often hidden under the phrase “natural flavours” on an ingredient label, so I’m happy at least that Knorr chose to list it distinctly.
Better than Bouillon
I would name this one “Better than some bouillons, but not as good as others”. Has a regular and organic product line in flavours like mushroom, turkey, beef, vegetable or chicken. Mostly great ingredients except that some of their formulas contain sugar, hydrolyzed soy proteins (which can be similar to MSG but not the same) and corn syrup solids.
My personal choice of bouillon cube! They are gluten-free, vegan, yeast-free and organic. Check out the ingredients – “Sea salt, non-hydrogenated palm oil*, corn starch*, raw sugar cane*, onion*, celery*, leeks*, carrots*, lovage*, parsley*, nutmeg*, turmeric, garlic*, pepper* (* Organic)”
Besides the palm oil (which has mixed reviews on sustainability), this is one clean cube!
Another organic company boasting gluten-free, organic and non-GMO ingredients. They use free-range chicken and organic meats for their animal broths. Here’s the listing for their chicken cubes – “Non GMO corn starch*, mineral salt, non hydrogenated palm oil*, yeast extract, chicken fat*, parsley*, lovage*, rosemary*, chicken meat*, natural chicken flavouring, turmeric*”
Next time you’re preparing a dish, take an extra moment to read through the ingredients. Your dishes are prepared with love and deserve only the best 🙂