A Sprinkle Of Sugar Will Take The Bitterness Out Of Gazpacho

Soup and hot weather are two words that you usually don't hear in the same sentence — after all, not only does soup bring in the heat temperature-wise, but it also involves cranking up the stove. In order to combat those soup cravings on sweltering days, Spain (quite ingeniously, actually), came up with the idea of gazpacho, a cold, refreshing soup made from a blend of pureed vegetables. Gazpacho is a festive, flavorful dish best served bursting with the fresh tomatoes of August — there's just something about this liquid salad's vibrant scarlet hue that tastes like summer in a bowl.

But like many tomato-based dishes — think spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, etc. — the acidity in gazpacho can sometimes give off a bitterness depending on the type of tomatoes used or the time of year. The quick fix? Simply add in a little bit of sugar to neutralize the acid. Similar to the way many add sugar to their pasta sauce, the goal here isn't to completely transform this dish into a whole new sugary sweet concoction; it's all about using just a small sprinkle to round out the flavors.

For example, our Mexican gazpacho soup recipe is loaded to the brim with fresh tomatoes, tomato juice, tabasco sauce, and apple cider vinegar — all ingredients, though fantastic, that are beaming with acidity. A small shake of sugar to taste will come in and balance out any bitterness for a neutralized, but still full-bodied, flavor.

Ways to add sugar into gazpacho

Granulated sugar isn't the only way to incorporate a pinch of sweetness into your gazpacho. The sweetness of sugar is found in everything from fruit all the way to honey and agave, so these types of add-ins are all fair game for balancing out bitterness. In fact, watermelon gazpacho has become a famous take on the traditional dish because of its ability to balance savory and sweet while still not introducing too much acid. Other low-acid fruits like honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and papaya are great, too, because they all add a unique flavor with their sweetness.

For recipes like our green gazpacho, where tomatoes are substituted for avocados and cucumbers, you can still add in a little bit of sugar or honey to balance out the sharpness of other ingredients like garlic, lemon juice, and chiles. Many green gazpacho recipes also use sherry vinegar, which can bring in bitterness from the acid, so a sweetener like honey would be perfect for gazpachos like this. All-in-all, it's most important to remember to start small and taste test when adding in the sugar; otherwise, you may end up over-sweetening a dish meant to lean on the more savory side.