A few summers ago when I had to make a lot of cold soup, I discovered a line of high-quality fruit and vegetable purées that came in handy. I couldn’t believe the intense flavor and color of these purées—Red Raspberry, Marion Blackberry, White Peach—which are just pure, ripe fruit, puréed and flash-frozen to preserve flavor. Some have a bit of sugar added, but no artificial preservatives or gums. The company, called The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley, captures fruit at its ripest, and it really shows.
There are now more than forty purées available, and chefs across the country are taking advantage of their convenience and quality to use in much more than soup. In fact, there are more than 300 recipes for sauces, mousses, hors d’oeuvres, savory tarts, ice creams, sorbets, and more posted in a “cookbook” at www.perfectpuree.com. The web site also gives the complete list of flavors, which includes More Mango, California Kiwi, Morello Cherry, Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit, Hawaiian Banana, Positively Pomegranate, Supersweet Corn, Harvest Pumpkin, and Roasted Sweet Yellow Pepper, to name a few.
While the purées are mostly distributed through food-service wholesalers, nonprofessional cooks can order from The Native Game Company (800-952-6321), which will send as little as one jar (shipped frozen via FedEx). Put the 30-oz. jars into the freezer when they arrive, and defrost them overnight in the refrigerator when you want to