How To Skim Soups and Stocks (Xafrisma tis soupas)

Skimming soups and stocks is recommended to keep the liquid clear. But what’s this all about?

As soups and stocks simmer, proteins congeal and form a foam that rises to the surface. It’s gray and unattractive, and you really want to remove it so that you have a nice, clear, clean broth. Fortunately it’s not difficult to do this. You just have to stay close to the kitchen for half an hour or so, and skim off the foam as it forms. Eventually it will pretty much stop forming. It’s easier to skim if you wait to add vegetables until after you’re done skimming. Keeping the liquid at a simmer rather than a hard boil will keep the scum rising to the surface rather than emulsifying into the liquid and clouding it.

Here’s what it looks like:
Scum forming on simmering soup.

Use a skimmer or a spoon to scoop it out:
Using a skimmer.

Dump it into a bowl to be thrown away.
Dump scum out into a bowl to be discarded.

7 Comments »

  1. Comment by Jays CD Rates

    I don’t like to eat that nasty stuff anyways. Its a good idea to skim. it keeps everyone having a hearty appetite.

    Jays CD Rates’s last blog post..Sovereign Bank CD Rates

  2. Comment by dee whelan

    I never knew I was supposed to skim the foam off soup but in my ignorance I found that it disappears anyway. Comment?

  3. Comment by Sorel Soup

    After a while, the scum will get mixed back into the soup. The soup will be cloudy as a result. Removing the scum produces a clear product.

  4. Pingback by I hate puns, but there’s no better way to describe this sauce… « luCook

    [...] may want to note that boiling raw beans that have been dried usually requires skimming the foam and film that is produced early in the boiling process.  Also, DO NOT add salt at this [...]

  5. Comment by Anonymous

    If you use an organic chicken the scum is reduced by at least 80%. It’s amazing! I’ve been making a lot of chicken soup lately and really noticed the difference from batch to batch.

  6. Comment by Joan

    Is it safe for the dog? What exactly is in the foam?

  7. Comment by xibis

    What is the difference between the protein in congealing foam that we skim off and the protein that makes our broth jell when it’s refrigerated?

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