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Chill out with fresh peach soup

Recipe:  No dairy in this refreshing dessert or side dish

Peach soup in a white bowl on a blue background
Garnish the soup with peach slices, if desired. Serve the soup very cold. (Photos:
Kathy Morrison)

No way am I turning on the oven or the stovetop in weather this hot. Even using the toaster is pushing things.

But peaches, my favorite summer fruit, now are in full season. The fruit stands and farmers markets are full of perfectly ripe ones. How to use those lovely peaches to their best advantage?

Make soup. Cold. Icy, even. You can drink it like a smoothie, but it's more fun to enjoy it a bit at a time, dipping a spoon into the cold bowl and savoring the fresh peach flavor.

To give the soup some body I blended the peaches with coconut milk (the kind in a can) instead of yogurt or cream. A bit of ginger ale enhances the sweetness. (A light fruit juice -- apple or pineapple -- would work well, too.) A touch of lime juice and a little almond extract add notes of brightness without overwhelming the peach flavor.  Served in a chilled bowl, it absolutely defines summer. Take that, triple digits.

5 peaches, 1 lime and a can of coconut milk
Use the ripest peaches for this easy soup.

Chilled peach soup

Serves 4-6


4 or 5 absolutely ripe peaches

1 lime, halved (zest it ahead of time if you want to use the zest for garnish)

1 cup regular unsweetened coconut milk (about half a can)

1/4 cup or more ginger ale (it doesn't have to be flat)

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Ideas for garnish (optional):

Peach slices, sprinkle of powdered ginger, finely chopped almonds or a sprinkle of lime zest


Prepare to peel the peaches by heating about 5 or 6 cups of water in a large microwave-safe container such as a glass measuring cup. (Or use a pot on the stove, but see my comment on that above!) The water should be very hot but doesn't have to be boiling.

Prepare a second bowl with ice water.

Peaches in a bowl of water
A hot water bath, above, followed by an ice water dunking will
loosen the peach skins.

Cut an X in the bottom of each peach and put a few peaches at a time in the hot water. Let them sit for 40 seconds to a minute. Remove them with a slotted spoon and dunk them in the ice water for about 30 seconds, then remove to a cutting board. Repeat until all the peaches have been dunked and removed.

Slip or cut the skins off the peaches, then cut the peaches in half and pit them. Slice the peach halves into a 4-cup measuring cup. Squeeze one half of the lime over the peach slices when there's about 2 cups' worth in the measuring container, then continue cutting until you have 4 cups of slices. Reserve any extra peaches for garnish.

Place the 4 cups of peach slices and the 1 cup of coconut milk in a blender. Squeeze the other lime half over them, then put the lid on the blender and puree the mixture until smooth.

Pour the mixture into a large container (such as a bowl or pitcher) that you can use to chill the soup. Whisk in the 1/4 cup ginger ale and the almond extract. Add a little more ginger ale or coconut milk if the mixture seems too thick at this point.

Cover the container and refrigerate until well chilled, or at least 2 hours. This also lets the flavors meld.

Chill bowls that will be used to serve the soup. When ready to serve, sample the soup and adjust the flavors to taste. Pour or ladle the soup into the chilled bowls and garnish as desired.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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