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A Summertime Favorite: Chilled Cantaloupe Soup with Fresh Mint

6/17/2011 1:04:32 PM

Tags: Lauren Holt, Mint, Cinnamon, Cantaloupe, Fruit Soup, Chilled Soup, Dessert Recipes, Summertime Favorites, A Summertime Favorite, Recipes

L.HoltI’ve only had it once, but chilled cantaloupe soup is one of my all-time favorite desserts. Just thinking about it makes me want to go buy cantaloupe. It’s sweet and smooth with a hint of citrus and mint and, in my opinion, the best possible way to eat a cantaloupe. I helped my cousin prepare it as a Thanksgiving dessert a few years ago and it has stuck with me as a recipe I want to be sure to try on my own. I haven’t quite gotten around to it yet, but I saw a few recipes for it today and decided that yes, I am going to make this. Maybe I’ll take it as my contribution to next week’s friendly get-together.

06-17-2011-1 
This fruit soup is refreshingly cool with mint, lime and a touch of yogurt.
Photo by Justin Kerin/Coutesy Flickr
 

The best part of this soup is that the cantaloupe provides a perfect base for wonderful fresh herbs and spices. I’ve had it with mint; most recipes call for cinnamon. When I make it I’m going to try ginger or maybe nutmeg. Fresh lavender is another possible addition to the bright flavors of this chilled dessert. For the adventurous, I’ve also seen a recipe that makes this soup with apple cider and curry powder.

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup

• 1 cantaloupe
• 2 cups orange juice, divided (this can be adjusted: consider using fresh lemon or lime juice as a replacement for up to 1/2 a cup of orange juice)
• 1 teaspoon lime juice (unless substituting lime for some of the orange juice)
• 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or ginger (or cardamom, nutmeg or allspice)
• A sprig of your favorite mint variety, for garnish (or a few lavender buds if you’re feeling adventurous)
• 1 tablespoon candied lime zest, for garnish (optional; see recipe below)

1. Seed, peel and cube the cantaloupe. Puree in a blender or food processor with 1/2 cup orange juice.

2. Stir in the rest of the orange juice, lime juice and cinnamon until all ingredients are thoroughly blended.

3. Taste and adjust spices and lime if desired. Keep in mind that flavors will intensify as the mixture sits.

4. Cover and refrigerate until chilled (about an hour, depending on the starting temperature of the cantaloupe). If you’re in a hurry, or want it extra cold for a hot summer day, put it in the freezer, but don’t let it freeze.

5. Garnish with chopped fresh mint leaves and a sprinkle of candied lime zest before serving.

Tip: If you want something a little sweeter, try adding 2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup. I’m going to stir in a few leaves from my stevia plant for a clean, sweet flavor without the sugar. (One of the friends I hope to make this for is diabetic.) For a touch of creamy texture, add a dollop of plain yogurt just before serving.

To make the lime zest:

1. Make a simple syrup by boiling 2 parts sugar in 1 part water until the sugar is dissolved. 

2. Remove zest from lime, scrape off pith, rinse in cold water, then add to the simple syrup and simmer for 3 minutes. Let cool.

3. Remove lime zest with a strainer and allow to cool and dry briefly, then coat with granulated sugar.

Now that I look at it, you could probably make awesome homemade popsicles with this recipe. Maybe blend the yogurt and mint in with the rest and freeze in bars for something people are more likely to recognize than a cold soup. Let me know how this works out if you try it!



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