Today is the longest day of the year for those living north of the equator. The summer solstice. A day when the sun seems to stand still; when the earth is actually farthest away from the sun. It arrives just days prior to the celebration of Sankthans in Norway, or Midsummer. And this year, there will also be a full moon, making it quite a special occurrence.
Interestingly, folklore refers to the June moon as the Strawberry Moon, among other names, as this was a way to signal when fruits were ready to be picked. In Norway, strawberries and midsummer come hand in hand. There’s nothing quite like strawberries to mark the start of the summer season, especially Norwegian strawberries. They are vibrant, sweet and highly prized as the cooler climate allows the berries ripen much slower, developing a more intense and sweet taste. The small and sought-after wild strawberries, which grow abundantly in our area, will also start to appear around this time.Fruit soup is a traditional dessert in Norway, often reflecting fruits which are in season. Summer fruit soup often features strawberries, which are paired perfectly with tart and tangy rhubarb. There are so many variations on this simple dish, with different herbs and spices adding to the flavor, that you can feel free to build upon this recipe inspired from Birger and Brimi’s book, Hverdagskost of Festmat Langs Primstaven.
Rhubarb and Strawberry Soup (Rabarbrasuppe og Jordbœr)
- 1 lb (500 g) rhubarb stalks, washed
- 1 lb (5oo g) strawberries
- 1 cup water
- 1 ¼ cups (250 g) sugar
Cut the rhubarb into slices – if using the first of the rhubarb, you do not need to peel the stalk, but if it is later in the season then do so. In a saucepan, add the water, sugar and rhubarb and bring it to a boil without stirring. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes to soften the rhubarb a little, but not too much.
Remove from the heat, place a lid on top, and set aside to cool. You can let it stand overnight. The longer it sits, the more flavorful it will be.
An hour before serving, cut the strawberries into quarters and add to the rhubarb soup. Serve alone or with ice cream or sweet cream.