German Grocery Stores Have A Special Feature For Soup Season

One of the great simple pleasures of the chilly months of fall and winter — or even the summer months if you're a dedicated soup lover — is spending the evening making a large batch of soup. The possibilities for a brothy bowl are endless, ranging from an easy weeknight ribollita to a slow-cooker chili that stews all day and is ready just in time for dinner.

Most soups are built on a similar foundation — such as the French mirepoix or the Cajun holy trinity — and involve a mixture of aromatics like onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, or leek. However, there's always the shopping dilemma of what to do when you only need one or two carrots or celery stalks, yet the store requires you to buy an entire bag.

The Germans have actually devised a clever solution to this issue, known as suppengrün or "soup greens." Available during soup season, these bundles contain just the right amount of common vegetables and herbs needed to make a soup base in Germany, ensuring there's no leftover food waste. They're a lifesaver for home cooks.

What are suppengrün?

Suppengrün broadly refers to the common vegetables used to make a soup base in Germany This would usually include carrots, leeks, celeriac, and sometimes parsnips or onions, as well as parsley.

The term suppengrün also refers to the bundles of soup vegetables sold in German grocery stores during soup season. Each bundle typically contains one leek, one carrot, a quarter of a celery root, a sprig of parsley, and occasionally other root vegetables like parsnips. The brilliance of these bundles lies in the fact that they provide everything you need to make soup, eliminating the risk of food waste. While similar soup bundles are hard to find in the U.S. and tend to be expensive and less fresh, these German soup bundles are an ingenious way to save money and reduce waste. They even take up less space in your shopping cart and refrigerator.

Different ways to use suppengrün

It's hardly a surprise that Germans have streamlined the process for soup enthusiasts. Soup is a staple in the German winter diet, offering much-needed warmth and comfort during the cold, gray months. Because grocery stores in Germany often stock highly seasonal produce, you're likely to find a produce section focused on root vegetables commonly used in Suppengrün during the depths of winter.

These vegetables, often enhanced with sausage or cream to create hearty winter soups, are also commonly seasoned with ingredients such as caraway seeds, marjoram, and paprika. They serve as the foundation for a variety of German soups, including the famous beer cheese soup — which features a suppengrün base of onions, leeks, garlic, celery, and thyme — and German wedding soup. Moreover, there are multiple variations of cabbage soup that incorporate suppengrün, such as this cabbage, bean and bacon soup, and this sweet and sour cabbage soup with dill.