Soup in the summer? Why not! Here are 4 recipes that make the most of fresh veggies

A selection of summer soups, clockwise from top, Sweet Pea, Cream of Zucchini and Almond, Beet-Fennel-Ginger and Asparagus and Shiitake Mushroom. / Hillary Levin/St. Louis Post Dispatch/TNS

When the produce at your local store, farmers market or your own garden is at its peak, it's time to make fresh vegetables the star of your meal.

It's time to make summertime soups.

In the summer, you want to make the most out of your produce by bringing out its flavor in the most pure and natural way. The fewer adornments, the less complexity, the better. Other flavors should not distract you from the garden-fresh goodness of your bounty.

As an added benefit, simple flavors usually come from simple cooking techniques.

In other words, summertime soups are both delicious and easy to make. Win-win.

I recently made four summertime soups. Only one of them was chilled, but each, in its own way, was unforgettable.

We'll start with the chilled soup first. It's called Beet-Fennel- Ginger Soup, and along with beets, fennel and ginger it is also made with cabbage and vegetable stock.