Capture Flavor With Infusions

| 11/2/2010 11:03:08 AM

11-2-2010-Put Em Up CoverExcerpted from Put 'Em Up: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook, by Sherri Brooks Vinton, with permissission from Storey Publishing (c) 2010. The following excerpt can be found on Pages 68 to 70.  

I come from a long line of white lightning makers and speakeasy owners, so my friends were really expecting some nitty-gritty how-to in a section that includes alcohol. Maybe that’s version 2.0. The alcohol and vinegar recipes in this book are infusions. Infusions are a simple way to capture all the great flavors of food before it’s gone and to enjoy it in a different way.

The alcohol-based infusions make terrific tipples either straight or mixed into a cocktail, but don’t stop there. They’re also wonderful for deglazing the skillet after searing a steak or piece of chicken, or you can drizzle them on ice cream for a grown-up dessert.

The vinegars are wonderful in salad dressings. They also add a whole new zing to homemade mayonnaise and bring a boost to long-simmered soups and stews—just stir in a tablespoon or so at the end of the cooking time.

Unlike many of the other preservation methods in this book, you don’t need perfect produce to make infused alcohols and vinegars. You can cut off a bruised section of a cucumber or use a piece of a leftover watermelon and still have safe and delicious results. Berries that are going a little soft will be okay. Of course, any moldy or rotten food needs to head to the compost, but less-than-perfect food is just fine here.

11-2-2010-Put Em Up Jams
Photo courtesy Storey Publishing (c) 2010.