I’ve already talked about how your salads should change with the seasons based on what ingredients are available but your stocks should change throughout the year as well. I love making stock in the spring because of how light and fresh they turn out due to what veggies are available at this time of year.
I’m going to tweak a tagline that LLP’s Johnny Kat uses all the time…”What’s in the stock?! What’s in the stock?!” No need for hysterics! You are probably getting rid of the things you need for a good stock.
The first thing you’ll want to do is start saving your veggie scraps. Make sure you clean your veggies well, then as you’re prepping them for whatever recipe you’re making, pop the scraps into a container you can keep in the freezer. When you have a fair amount of scraps, it’s time to make stock!
For a flavorful Spring stock you can use the following:
- Onion skins
- Turnip tops
- Spring garlic
- Rainbow chard
- Mushroom stems
- Fresh herbs
When you have enough scraps, start to make stock by chopping everything up coarsely. Throw all the veggies in a pot big enough to hold them plus a few extra inches of water…which you’ll be adding now! Less water means that your stock will be more concentrated; more water makes a lighter-flavored stock. Add a teaspoon of black peppercorns, a dash of salt and a bayleaf if you like. I’m also adding a 1” chunk of Lanchego cheese rind that I have leftover for extra flavor. Feel free to use any hard cheese rind.
Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring to just under a boil. Once you start to see some bubbling happen, turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for about an hour. You want to make sure you simmer it long enough to infuse the water with vegetable goodness. Give it a stir every now and again to circulate the veggies. Be sure to taste your stock regularly as you cook it, adding additional seasoning if needed.
Take the pot off the stove and remove all the vegetables with a slotted spoon. Set a colander or strainer over a big bowl and line it with cheesecloth or coffee filters. Pour the stock through. If not using immediately, divide the stock into storage containers, cool completely and then freeze. You can even freeze your stock in ice cube trays and then pop the frozen stock cubes out and store in containers in the freezer. If you’re stocking up on stock, be sure to label your containers. I use plain masking tape.