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Summer Soups

Summer soups are a cool, colorful and delicious way to beat the heat!

The best summer meals provide a breezy disposition as the temperatures start to climb. Many of us enjoy grilling and dining outside — both welcome ways to beat the heat and enjoy the season.

There’s another summer treat that may not come as quickly to mind — a summer soup. If you’ve ever enjoyed a cool, smooth, minty or fruity soup on a sweltering afternoon, then you know this can be a satisfying and easy summer meal. If not, we’d like to introduce you to some delicious summer fare. (A summer soup made with the bounty from your local farmers market or food co-op is a great way to eat healthy and support local growers, too.)

Whether you’re using fruits, vegetables, or a combination of both, you’re likely to come across some interesting flavors you haven’t experienced before. Flavoring your summer soups with an array of spices will add to the diversity of choices, too.

Even though most summer soups are served cold or chilled, most must start out being cooked on the stove. When you can, you might want to do any of the necessary cooking in the cooler morning hours, so you won't be heating up the kitchen right before mealtime. This strategy will give your soup plenty of time to chill. That way you won’t be heating up the kitchen right before mealtime and your soup will have plenty of time to chill before dinner. Make plenty — chilled soups from dinner make an easy and quick next day’s lunch, too.

Cold soups need to chill at least two hours to taste their best at serving time. If you need to chill your soup quickly, place it over ice to cut down a bit on refrigeration time.

strawberries

Fruit soups

Fruit soups are a refreshing way to start or end a summer meal. Berry soups are often a combination of sweet and tart flavors. Tartness is important, since some of the flavor may fade while the soup cools. Buttermilk or yogurt are often used to add a smooth tartness.

Fresh lemon juice is often used to bring out the flavors of the fruit, but be careful when using lemon — too much can turn your soup an unappealing brown. Color is an important aspect of these cool, lively dishes.

Fruit soups are fun to garnish in creative ways, with whole berries, sliced fruit or a bit of sour cream. Soups served this way are visual treats!

Ready to give cold summer soups a try? Here are a few fruit soup recipes to get you started. (The Sweet Potato-Pear Soup is served hot, but its unlikely flavor combination will dazzle any summer meal — especially when made with fresh ingredients.)

Watermelon Gazpacho
Unlike other summer soups, which are blended to smooth silky textures, a gazpacho is expected to be chunky. That makes this one an even easier summer treat to make.

More Recipes:
Summer Fruit Soup
Sweet Potato-Pear Soup

Vegetable soups

Cool summer vegetable soups are a nice variation from serving a salad. They can also be a hearty meal by themselves. Unlike the desired smoothness of a fruit soup, summer vegetable soups are often rich and full of texture. For additional texture, add beans, rice, or bread to the mix.

Again, there’s nothing like a summer farmers market to offer you an array of vegetables for creating soups: spinach, avocados, cucumber, tomatoes, beets, carrots, corn and asparagus, for example. Any of these creatively combined with herbs and spices in a summer soup will revive your weary taste buds after a long summer day.

Remember, when cooled, some of the flavors of your vegetables may fade, so you need to start with the freshest ingredients you can. Newly picked vegetables will give you the most satisfying results.

chilled carrot honey soup

Chilled Carrot Honey Soup
This smooth combination of carrots and honey, spiked with a bit of cayenne, will round out an alfresco steak dinner perfectly.

More Recipes:
Cool Cucumber Soup
Springtime in Asparagus Soup
Cold Squash and Buttermilk Soup

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