Scandinavian long winters explain the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in many traditional recipes. Historically, during the winter months, people used dried fruits for the preparation of various dishes, including Swedish fruit soup, fruktsoppa. It is a traditional dessert in Sweden and Norway made out of a variety of dried fruits that can be served hot or cold. For many families, it is a Christmastime dish.
Refreshing and nourishing, Swedish fruit soup is a staple food in Scandinavian countries. Swollen prunes, raisins, and apricots and soft chunks of many other dried fruits make it syrupy texture and sweet. Fruktsoppa can be stored unrefrigerated for a “reasonable” time.
Naturally vegan, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free, this fruit soup is rich in many essential minerals and dietary fiber.
Dried fruits for Swedish fruit soup
Although many different dried fruits can be used in the preparation of Swedish fruit soup, the traditional mix contains apricot, apple, pear, raisins, cranberries, prunes, cherry, and peaches. Additional ingredients may include tapioca, red wine, lemon juice, and cinnamon.
- Dried apricots: Besides being vibrant in flavour, naturally sweet, pleasantly chewy, and wonderfully tasty, these dried fruit is packed with health-beneficial nutrients. Dried apricots are: a good source of provitamin A; rich in vitamin E that fights free radicals; high in iron that improves hemoglobin production; low in glycemic index which is good for people with Type 2 diabetes; rich in potassium and low in sodium which help regulate blood pressure.
- Dried apple: Dried apple rings may not be an equal substitute for fresh apples, but they are naturally sweet. Dried apples are very low in protein and fat but rich in carbohydrates, which is almost all healthy sugars.
- Dried cranberries: Slightly sweetened, dried cranberries have a distinctive taste: they are marvelously tart and sweet. There are too many good reasons to include them into fruit soup. Dried cranberries have high antibacterial properties that fight urinary tract infections and improve oral health. This dried fruit is a unique source of antioxidants, which are associated with lowering the risk for heart disease and other heals conditions. Dried cranberries strengthen your immune system and keep you healthy and happy.
- Dried cherries: They are appreciated by many for their sweet and tangy flavour. Dried cherries are a wonderful addition to Swedish fruit soup. No cholesterol, fat, sodium or gluten. Dried cherries support overall health, because they have a little bit of everything: dietary fiber, protein, vitamins B, C, and K, essential minerals, flavonoid quercetin, and the phenolic acid amygdalin. The combination of melatonin and tryptophan found in cherries could be beneficial for a good night sleep.
- Dried peaches: They are not only pleasantly soft and sweet but also full of essential nutrients: dietary fiber, vitamins A, B, C and K, and essential minerals such as iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. Chopped dried peaches add a great flavour to this Scandinavian dessert.
- Dried pears: With mild sweet taste and soft texture, dried pears are an excellent source of vitamins, antioxidants, and dietary fiber in both soluble (pectin) and insoluble forms (cellulose).
- Prunes: Prunes are rich in vitamin K, dietary fiber, potassium, boron and phytochemicals which are involved in many interrelated biochemical and physiological processes. Dried plums are a moderate source of vitamins B2, B3, B5, and B6. The laxative effect of prunes could be explained by their high sorbitol content (14.7g/100g). Together these compounds help regulate glucose metabolism, promote cardiovascular health, are involved in bone metabolism, protect against cancer, and contribute to digestion.
- Raisins: Offering plenty of health benefits, raisins are very tasty. They contain about 30% fructose and 28% glucose by weight. They are high in certain antioxidants and have 4%–7% dietary fiber, a carb with a low glycemic index. Raisins are rich in potassium and low in sodium. They also contain 3% protein, decent amounts of B vitamins, copper and iron, and no cholesterol. Among dried fruits, raisins have one of the highest concentrations of boron containing between 2 and 3 mg per 100 grams.
Swedish Fruit Soup Preparation
Preparation involves soaking the dried fruits and various ingredients for some time to soften them, and then adding water and cooking the mixture until it thickens. If you let the soup sit for a few hours prior to serving, it allows the flavours to better intermingle and incorporate into one another.
Enjoy Swedish fruit soup warm in the winter or cold in the hot summer days!