Fruit Soup Recipes: Summertime in a Bowl

For a delicious summer treat, try these recipes for fruit soups, including simple strawberry, strawberry watermelon, basic peach, strawberry orange, brandied peach, cherry, blueberry, raspberry, cantaloupe amaretto, minted cantaloupe, summer gazpacho, and two-color soup recipes.


| May/June 1989



Fruit Soups

Fruit soups make a fine first course, a light summertime lunch, or a memorable dessert.


PHOTO: AL CLAYTON

Since the Ancient Greeks (whose meals ended with fruit) and the Romans (who preserved whole fruits in honey), we haven't lacked for culinary inspiration in the use of these natural desserts. Indeed, such tempting foods lead us into experimentation, into continually exploring other ways to enjoy them. To the jams and jellies, the pies and cakes, the cobblers and buckles, we can add a less common variation: fruit soup.

If Eve had offered Adam a rutabaga, things might have been different. But how could he spurn an apple? Fruit is so innately alluring that it is not only food but metaphor for all things desirable. Up and down Washington's corridors of power, the book describing all the jobs it is the prerogative of a newly elected President to appoint is known as "the plum book." On good days, our daughter is a peach, our son is the apple of our eye, and life in general is a bowl of cherries. (The lemon in the argument is obvious; the sugar in that fruit is so low that it has come to symbolize all sour exceptions, whether of cars, computers or, in this paragraph, lists of supporting examples.)

It's no wonder we find fruit irresistible. Botanically, its sole purpose is to see to it that the seeds it encases are widely dispersed by attracting hungry birds, reptiles and mammals, who eat the fruit and transport the seeds. Biologically as well as allegorically, the whole function of fruit is to entice.

It lures humans with two things that we instinctively value: color and sweetness. Unlike most other mammals, we enjoy that unutterable blessing, the ability to perceive color. Fruit has always been a vivid flash in the forest. We so identify fruit with color that the name of one is often the word for the other: orange, peach, apricot, melon, plum.

The surest way to conjure up an accurate image is to specify lime (as opposed to apple) green, cherry red or lemon yellow. Even Homer's "wine-dark sea" drew its mystery from the color of grapes. Food manufacturers, who well understand that if food isn't the right color we won't eat it, make certain that their artificially flavored fruit creations are also artificially colored. Thus our "cherry" and "grape" drinks and gelatins are garish, and our ersatz orange juices border on the electric.

Fruit not only catches our eye for color but appeals to our love of sweets. Of the four basic tastes, human newborns show a decided preference only for sweetness. In the days when the major nutritional concern was not to avoid calories but to get enough to survive, a sweet tooth was an evolutionary adaptation that helped us utilize superb sources of energy. High in sugar, fruit was among our earliest sweets.

Now, however, our taste for fruit has expanded to include more complex flavors. Fruit soups make a fine first course, a memorable dessert or a light summertime lunch. They can be a simple purée of fruit and liquid or a more complex creation involving spices, wines or liqueurs. But even at their fanciest, fruit soups are easy to make, requiring only a blender or food processor and some basic ingredients.

Fruit

A variety of fruits lend themselves to soup—all kinds of berries, the stone fruits (peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries) and melons (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon). While fresh fruit is always best and is mandatory when using melons, frozen fruit can yield excellent results. In fact, making soup is one of the best ways to use up the surplus crop that fills your freezer. Even canned fruit works well.





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