Strawberry Soup ~~ Summertime Delight
Chilled Summer Soups
We are all familiar with Gazpacho, Cucumber and Borscht (beets and sour cream) soups which are served cold during the hot summer months. My grandmother, Bobcia, was Polish and as a young girl and as a mother with children of her own, she both enjoyed and prepared a variety of fruit soups. In the fall and winter they were made with dried or canned fruit from the previous harvest and served warm. In the summer they were made with fresh fruit just picked from their own bushes and vines and served chilled.
I hope to share several of Bobcia's fruit soup recipes with you, but as the heat of summer arrives -- it is already here across most of the southern United States and will soon envelop the rest of the country -- let's begin our cold fruit soup explorations with a delicious and satisfying Chilled Strawberry Soup. It is so simple and so easy.
What You Will Need
2 pints strawberries (very ripe, almost too ripe)
1 cup water
2 - 4 Tbsp. sugar
1 - 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup Half and Half (light cream)
Mint leaves (for garnish, optional)
Wash and slice your strawberries and place them in a thick bottomed (distributes heat evenly) 2-4 quart sauce pan dutch oven, kettle, whatever you have. Add the cup of water and simmer, stirring frequently, over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the other ingredients except for the Half and Half. Start with the lesser amount of sugar and lemon juice suggested, taste, and then add to suit your family's taste. Continue simmering and stirring for another 10-15 minutes until the fruit is very tender.
Let the hot strawberry mixture cool. You can simply set it aside for thirty minutes while you do other things or to speed up the process, you can set the pot into a larger container full of ice cubes and water. When the mixture is cool, stir in the light cream, taste once more and adjust sugar and lemon juice if needed. Transfer to a glass bowl and refrigerate covered until time to serve.
Holidays and Celebrations
This is lovely served with mint leaves as a garnish. It is lovely served without any additional adornment. I have served it at a family Fourth of July celebration and the color is perfect for a red, white, and blue theme. I have also served it at Christmas, not cold, not hot, but warmed and with a dollop of sour cream on top added at the last minute. Plain, lemon or vanilla yogurt would also do well as a topping. Never thought about it before, but this would make a lovely addition to any Valentine's Day meal. Serves 4. Enjoy!
I know some of you are busily thinking, "Well, my daughter is allergic to strawberries or my husband doesn't like them." Not a problem at all. You can follow the same steps and substitute either fresh raspberries or blueberries. They both make a fabulous soup and if you want this to be desert, you serve your favorite Butter Cookies, Short Bread or even Macaroons along side the soup.
Strawberry Soup is wonderful served at the beginning of a meal, as a palate cleanser in the middle, or it can serve as a light and healthy dessert at the end of a meal. Of course it can certainly stand alone as part of a mid-afternoon effort to beat the heat or as a reward for the person who just cut the grass, trimmed the bushes, or weeded the garden.
Just a thought, but don't present this to your children as a soup, most of them will turn their noses up at it. Instead, thin it out with a little more milk and water until it will easily go through a straw, then serve it in a glass as a strawberry milkshake. Children, and adults too, will love it. Of course it is much healthier than most fast food milkshakes because it is 80% real fruit and 20% dairy as opposed to a commercial mixture of artificial colors, flavors, and thickening agents.
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