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Apr 11, 2008 10:07 PM

Anyone ever heard of adding fruit to stock?

Well, I was just wondering if anyone heard of reputable chefs adding fruit to stock. And I mean things like apples and oranges (probably not berries cause they're too expensive). It makes sense to me theoretically, as the main reason why I put vegetables in my stock is to make the stock sweeter, as not adding vegetables leads to a bitter stock. So I was wondering "I'm trying to make my stock sweeter, let's just put an apple in there!".

Right now, I'm going to make some duck stock, which will specifically be used for a sauce reduction. Now pairing fruit (oranges, berries, ect.) with duck is pretty common. Just put some oranges in your stock for a twist on duck a l'orange. But unfortunately as a home cook, experimenting in the kitchen is an expensive time consuming hobby. Anyone else heard about this before I go screwing things up? But I guess adding reduced fruit juices to reduce stock is how it's normally done...

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  1. I always throw in the lemon after I have zested and squeezed, for chicken stock.

    1. I often add apple peels to the veg stocks (and chicken stocks) I make in the fall. The fruit flavor goes so well with the root vegetable(+ fruit, sometimes) soups I make at that time of year (carrot/apple/ginger, parsnip/pear/thyme, squash/onion/bacon). In some cases I then of course will use fruit as a component of the final soup, in others I will just rely on the sweeter stock to carry the flavor. I satisfy my need to diminish waste this way, and I get some great stocks.

      Caveat: snce you can't ever take anything out of a stock, think about how you intend to use the stock in the end. If I am making a large pot of stock to store for future use, I make it as multipurposed as possible. If I make a stock with, say, the apple peeling as a component, I either use it right away for a soup it's suited for, or label (!) and freeze for the next root soup. I don't want to end up with a fruity stock in my risotto by accident. Or, hmmmm...maybe that would be good?


      1 Reply
      1. Tomatoes, Dried Goji Berries, Dates, and Figs.

        All have been used in my stock at one time or another.

        5 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          ipsedixit, may I ask about the stocks you're making with dates and figs and their final usage?

          So curious ( and thinking it sounds very good),


          1. re: cayjohan

            It's usually chicken stock for either vegetable chowder/soup or chicken soup.

            Sometimes, I'll add goji berries and dried dates to vegetable stock to make things like congee or a very light udon.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Because I am fascinated, I have decided to be a pest and ask further questions! :-)

              What are your suggested herbs/flavorings to combine with the dates or figs? (I sometimes need to do a clear-out of the copboard and have the odd figs to use.)

              Oh, and your dates in vegetable stock for congee sounds like some sort of cousin to my flippantly suggested sweet stock in risotto. Any further elaboration?

              And curiouser,

              1. re: cayjohan

                HI Cay

                Oftentimes, when I make stock with dates and/or figs, I'll add in some ginseng and goji berries. No herbs. I'll use the stock as the base for a daikon seaweed soup. I think the subtle sweetness of the dates adds a nice dimension to the ginseng -- both have a very nice earthy sweetness to them. If I don't have ginseng handy, I'll drop in a couple of peeled chunks of ginger.

                As for the congee, sometimes I'll eat congee by itself and for those times using plain water is, well, just too plain. But at the same time I don't really want something too rich, which is what happens if I use chicken or beef stock. That's how I end up using veggie stock as a base to making my congee -- and when it's all cooked I drop in some preserved radishes, pickled chinese cucumbers into the congee and open up a can of Taiwanese sardines ... and I'm all good!

                Hope this helps. Always happy to help out a fellow 'hound.

                Happy eating.

          2. re: ipsedixit

            Hi ipsedixit,

            My mother does the same when she is making Chinese-styled chicken stock.

            Dried goji berries, dried dates (different kinds like red., black, or the "honey" kind), dried figs. Even dried longan.

            She will sometime add Asian pears depending on what the stock will be used for.

          3. Often strong non-meat flavors are kept to a minimum in stock, so the stock can be used in a variety of ways. That would apply to herbs as well as fruit. You might want to use some chicken stock in a gravy, some in an Italian style soup, and the rest in a Chinese style one. A strong rosemary flavor would not fit in all of these.

            Also you don't need to cook fruit long to extract its flavor and sweetness. So you could make the basic stock, and then add the fruit flavor during the final preparations.

            But adding fruit to something like duck makes some sense, both because fruit is often paired with it, and duck stock is not such a general purpose one as chicken or beef. Still, if making a reduction, I'd be wary of adding strong flavors too soon. You want, for example, to taste for salt after the reduction, not before.


            1. I make a completely fruit stock for a dessert soup I make. I use apples, pears, lemon, and other assorted hard fruits (depending what's around/cheap). I only however use the stock/liquid to make a vanilla soup with a pear dumpling. So I really don't know if it would transfer very well to other uses.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Life of Pie

                That fruit stock sounds really good. How do you make it and how do you make the pear dumpling?

                1. re: karykat

                  For the fruit stock:
                  3-4 pears (I use bartlett, anjou, and asian pears; quartered and cored)
                  1 granny smith apple (quartered and cored)
                  1 lemon zested and cut in half
                  nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla (pod or extract)
                  sugar to taste
                  I've tried cherry's, and berries but they didn't work particularily well. I tried a quince once and it worked very well, but quince is difficult to get for me so I don't use it often.

                  I put all the cut fruit in a medium sized pot and then add cold water.
                  Add half a stick of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and the zest of the lemon.
                  bring the pot to a boil and then simmer for 25-30 minutes.
                  You now have the choice of either straining the liquid, which will have lots of broken down flesh in it and the skins, or you can remove the skins (but not the broken down flesh) and puree the liquid into into a thicker soup. (I've done it both ways and either is good, but produce a quite different finished product).

                  For the strained version try and get it as clear as possible (strain through cheese cloth if possible). Then add the vanilla extract and sugar to taste (it doesn't require much). If you are using a vanilla pod split it and put the seeds and husk in the strained liquid and simmer for another 5-10min to get all the vanilla flavour out. Let cool and chill

                  For the puree (which I've only done once just to experiment). I added milk to the soup to thin it out and then added the vanilla and sugar. It had a much stronger flavour and the texture was almost like a really thin apple sauce. Again let it cool.

                  pear dumplings:
                  I make a chinese steamed bun dough (like for pork buns). It is a simple yeast dough that has baking powder kneaded into it just before use.
                  For the filling;
                  peel, core and dice some pears (4-5)
                  1/3 cup of sugar
                  1/4 cup water
                  1/4tsp ea. cinnamon and nutmeg
                  1/2tsp vanilla extract.
                  Put it all in a pot over medium heat and let it carameilze and get gooey, but not before the pieces of pear turn to mush. Let it cool.

                  roll out the dough into beer mat sized circles and a heaping teaspoon of filling and pinch closed at the top. Steam for about 15min until the dough is puffy and cooked.

                  Serve a smallish bowl of the cold fruit soup with one of the freshly steamed dumplings in it.


                  1. re: Life of Pie

                    Thanks very much for this. Sounds very good.