Late summer offers so much wonderful produce from the farm gardens and markets of Middlesex County and beyond. One of my favourite ways to celebrate this bounty is with Late Summer Harvest Soups. They allow you to enjoy the best of summer produce right now and freeze well to bring the taste of summer back to the winter table. Here are six of my favourite soup recipes of the season — enjoy!
[As usual in my roundup posts, you may notice that some of the photos still have watermarks showing the blog’s former name, Life Through the Kitchen Window. What can I say, I’d rather cook and eat than spend hours on the computer!]
The Case for Making Summer Soups
I know, it’s hot. And humid. Terribly humid here in Southwestern Ontario and far beyond as well from what I’ve heard. It may seem counterintuitive to make soup, but really, this is one of the best foods to make in the summer. To prove my case:
- Soup is easy to make and you don’t really need a recipe once you have the hang of it. The summer kitchen, whether at home or the cottage, is no place for complicated cooking! I make my soups in the morning before it gets too hot out, and so the kitchen can cool down before the full heat of day.
- Soup is inexpensive, and a good way to keep costs down.
- A big batch goes a long way. Soup’s ideal for big-batch cooking. It keeps well in the fridge for a few days. If there’s more I freeze it in portions to enjoy later. Soups are also ideal for make-ahead cooking because generally the flavour tends to improve with storage.
- Enjoy summer seasonal produce in winter. While it’s great to eat fresh produce, there’s only so much you can consume in season. Late summer harvest soups bring a taste of sunshine to the winter table.
- A hot meal is comforting and nourishing, even on a hot day. It only takes a few minutes to heat up soup from the fridge or freezer on the stovetop, so you can have a hot meal without heating up the place.
- Soups are healthy and nutritious, unlike those burgers and sausages that can be fun summer fare but leave you feeling bogged down. If you include grains or legumes with the vegetables, they’re a good source of protein.
Every year I rent a cottage at Lake Huron, and soup is always on the menu, based on what’s available at the local farm market. It’s great fuel for some serious summer fun and relaxation, like swimming, walking and really serious lounge chair reading.
One more thing … you can make your summer soups rustic or elegant. While I enjoy a bowl of chunky soup, savouring the squeak of green beans against my teeth, the pop of corn kernels and the luscious texture of cubes of squash, one of the Offspring is averse to such textures. So, I simply purée a few jars of soup for her. In the process, I discovered that doing so creates a dinner-party worthy result, as you can see in the photo above of my Golden Summer Soup in both its original chunky and silky smooth forms.
My Favourite Ingredients for Late Summer Harvest Soups
There’s an embarrassment of riches available in late summer farm markets in Southwestern Ontario. Some of my favourites include:
- Corn, corn, and more corn!
- Green and yellow beans
- Butternut squash
- Zucchini (especially the yellow ones)
- Red peppers
And let’s not forget all the fresh herbs and aromatics like onions and garlic fresh from the fields, to really make your soups sing.
6 Favourite Late Summer Harvest Soups
You can make your late summer harvest soups following any of my favourite half dozen recipes or use them as a starting point. Or, simply take your inspiration from the produce available in your area. (And by the way, I’ve made all of these soups while vacationing at the beach except for one …)