Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blueberry Soup:

I'm sorry, but it's about time we all admitted it, summer will soon be over. I know, I know, *groan*... But the sooner you accept that the end is coming the sooner you can start preparing yourself. Now, what makes summer so great is that it's the one time of the year when fruits are not only abundant, but also cheap. Seriously cheap. $10 for a 5lb. box of blueberries... how many do you have?! The flavor is also far superior to those overpriced hothouse or imported blueberries you find in your local grocery store in the dead of winter. Problem is, while blueberries are awesome, there's only so many you can realistically eat over the course of a summer before you turn into Violet Beauregarde. Sure, you can freeze them on a baking sheet till they're rock hard, then plop 'em into a ziptop bag and store them in your freezer. But frozen blueberries only have so many uses, and most of those involve baking (not that I have any problem with that of course).

Winter is known as the season of soups (to me at least, among other things it's known for), so why not make blueberry soup? Soup, made from blueberries... sounds crazy doesn't it. But think about it for a second, gazpacho is a chilled soup made with tomatoes, and I distinctly remember having chilled strawberry soup on a cruise once, so who's to say why not. Plus, you'll greatly appreciate that fresh blueberry taste in the dead of winter. So why post it now? Because now is when you need to prepare! The recipe essentially starts by making a blueberry syrup base that you then add either yogurt, or sour cream, or crème fraîche to thicken. So you can buy a ton of blueberries now while they're super cheap and at the peak of flavor, make the syrup base, freeze it in small containers till needed, then pull one out and add your thickener of choice.

Blueberry Soup:scale recipe as desired.
2 pts. blueberries
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
yogurt/sour cream/crème fraîche (amount can vary to taste)
  1. Wash and remove any stems from the bluerries. Heat the water, sugar, and spices in a medium saucepan till boiling. Add in the blueberries and cook over medium high heat till the blueberries have broken down and the liquid is a dark purple color, ~5-8 minutes.
  2. Very carefully transfer some of the blueberry liquid to a blender and process until smooth, or use an immersion blender if you have one. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a clean container and either freeze if you plan to store or put in the fridge for sooner usage.
  3. To make the final soup, mix about 1 part blueberry base with 1 part thickener of choice. I prefer using a 1 to 0.75 mix of base to vanilla yogurt, but feel free to experiment to get the consistency and taste you prefer.

Hooray for blueberries! $1/pint, sign me up!!

The final product as I prefer to serve it. Not too thick, not to thin, but loaded with blueberry flavor.

So, there you have it. My not very secret tip for surviving the dreaded mid-winter fruit depression. With a little bit of planning (seriously little) and a smidgen of effort, you can enjoy the wonderful taste of blueberries in the middle of that snowstorm that will be dropping 8" of snow come January (note, I claim no responsibility if that actually happens). And don't worry, you can still have your regular heart-warming chicken noodle or beef stew, this actually works great as a dessert in lieu of ice cream (I know, sounds treasonous, but it is). So, take advantage now while blueberries are still in season to stock up, and don't forget to freeze some on baking sheets for use in baked goods too!

Mike :)

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