The GOAT Soup Ingredient You're Constantly Throwing Away

Processed, pre-packaged Kraft parmesan is great in a pinch, but there's nothing like freshly grated cheese for ramping up your meals. However, did you know that the rind left over when you get to the bottom of a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano can also be a flavor game changer?

Parmesan's rind is just hardened cheese — it doesn't contain any wax or paper, which some other cheese rinds are coated in. That means those rinds can actually be used in soups to add nutty and savory notes to your dish, as well as a welcome punch of umami.

Better yet, this trick works for a number of different types of soups. It can be a great way to really add richness and depth to a vegetable soup, or you can use it to enhance the meaty taste of a hearty beef soup. Acidic tomato soups can also benefit from the addition of this salty ingredient, adding balance to the dish. Whichever you choose, you'll get a meal that has just a bit more flavor than it would without the rind.

How to add parmesan rinds to soups

To use parmesan rinds in soups, all you have to do is drop one into your dish as it bubbles away on the stove. As the soup cooks, the cheese will melt into the broth and impart its flavor. Remember, the earlier you drop the rind into the dish, the stronger the effect will be once you're done cooking.

Speaking of finishing, when the soup is ready, just remove any leftover rind from the pot before serving. Sometimes, the rind may fully melt into the soup. If it doesn't, however, you can cut it into smaller pieces and use it as a topping for your dish, or you can just discard it.

If you find you go through blocks of parm faster than you can use up the rinds, don't worry about that, either. You can actually freeze the rinds in resealable plastic bags. They'll last for up to a year, and don't need to be defrosted before adding them to your meals — the heat of the soup you're making will melt them down in no time.

Other foods that can benefit from parmesan rinds

It's not just soup that can get a flavor kick from parmesan rinds. There are several other meals into which you can stir this crusty leftover. For one thing, try adding them to risottos. The parmesan rind can work particularly well to intensify the umami taste of a creamy mushroom risotto, for instance, while also adding a silky texture to your dish.

Another option is to mix it into a tomato sauce. The parmesan notes add a bit of salty robustness to your topping. All you have to do is simmer it in the pot with your tomatoes, and remove it once they're cooked and ready to serve.

You could also use those rinds to make stocks and broths. These stocks will be extra rich and flavorful, and since they're the base for gravies, soups, and other dishes, the subsequent recipes you use them in will also inherit those tasting notes. So, next time you finish up a block of parmesan, rather than tossing out the rind, tuck it away in your freezer to use in your cooking!