The idea of soup for dessert might seem strange, but for Swedes it’s simply a part of their food culture. Nyponsoppa, rose hip soup (recipe follows) utilizes an abundant, vitamin-rich food resource in Scandinavia to create one of the country’s most celebrated desserts.
More Swedish dishes on The World Cup of Food:
- Köttbullar, Swedish meatballs (with Swedish cuisine overview)
- Jansson’s Frestelse, “Jansson’s Temptation”
Wild roses are common in Scandinavia (and, to our advantage, in the South Puget Sound region). After the flower dries up in the late summer, a fruit, the rose hip, superficially resembling a tomato, forms in its place. It is slightly tart and floral in flavor with almost no sweetness and is used commonly in herbal teas. Rose bushes grow along most wood edges in our area, and we know of a few places in which rose hips can reliably be harvested once they are ready in the fall.
Most recipes we found online make nyponsoppa out of dried rose hips, widely available in most American supermarkets. We had a gallon freezer bag full of the fresh kind in our freezer to use for ours, but if you wanted to try the dried version instead we wouldn’t be offended. For further convenience (laziness?), there are packets of instant rose hip soup available for purchase online, in specialty markets, and even at Ikea.
SERVES ABOUT 4
- 4 cups fresh rose hips, cleaned, split in two, and inner flesh and seeds removed
- 2 quarts water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp corn starch plus 2 tsp water, mixed into a slurry
Last fall, we gathered plenty of rose hips from a nearby wild rose bush patch, soaking them for a few minutes in water to drive out any bugs:
After soaking, the ends were trimmed, then we split each rose hip in half with a paring knife and scooped out the seeds inside. The cleaned rose hip halves were stored in a freezer bag until we were ready to use them.
To make the soup, we dumped the contents of the freezer bag into a small stockpot along with the sugar and water, stirred to dissolve the sugar, then brought everything to a simmer over medium heat:
After about forty-five minutes, the rose hips were softened and beginning to fall apart:
Working in batches, the contents of the stockpot were scooped into the blender and pureed until smooth, then strained to make sure there weren’t any large fibrous pieces left over:
It’s a good thing we did strain, because some of the leftover rose hip solids might have given the soup a grainier texture:
The strained liquid was put back on the burner over medium-low heat and brought just to a simmer:
Next, we drizzled in the corn starch slurry:
The soup was whisked over the gentle heat until it had thickened slightly and was done. Nyponsoppa can be served hot or cold; we served ours hot as a dessert course:
Nyponsoppa tastes a little like carrot juice, but slightly sweeter and with hints of tomato and cherry flavors. We had ours plain, but Swedes enjoy their nyponsoppa with whipped cream, ice cream, or almond cookies on top. Kept in a jar refrigerated, it also makes a refreshing morning beverage and is actually pretty good for you, with plenty of antioxidants and vitamin C. This fall, we’ll probably go out for rose hips again.