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All projects are FREE, however, donations towards the upkeep of Walkabout Crafts are much appreciated. Please click below to make a donation..Infusions and macerations both involve soaking anything in order to extract flavour. Infusing usually involves boiling liquid, and maceration simple soaking. This is easy to do, whether using sprigs of tarragon to flavour vinegar, brewing up a refreshing drink or pouring brandy over cherries.
Herbal, fruit and floral vinegars can be used to give subtle flavour to salad dressings and marinades. The best vinegar to use as a base is a wine or cider vinegar. Choose attractive glass containers with acid proof tops such as corks or glass stoppers.
Making Herbal Vinegar
You can make a herbal vinegar from basil, bay, dill, fennel, garlic, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, chives. Flavours can also include chive flowers, raspberries or lavender.
1. Bruise the fresh herbs by crushing them lightly in your hand or in a mortar and pestile. Place them in a clean container.
2. Fill the container with slightly warmed vinegar. Seal tightly and leave to stand in a light sunny place for at least two weeks. Shake the vinegar every day.
3. Taste the vinegar for strength and when ready, strain through a piece of muslin and rebottle. To aid identification, place a fresh piece of herb in the bottle.
A mild flavoured or flavourless oil, such
as safflower or sunflower oil, makes a perfect partner for a wide
variety of herbs and spices. Like herbal vinegars, flavoured oils can be
used in sauces, marinades and salad dressings.
Sweet oils are made by flavouring almond oil with scented flowers, such as lemon verbena and lavender.
Garlic or shallot flavoured oil
Peel fresh cloves of garlic or peel and quarter shallots and drop them into the bottle of oil. A light olive oil could be used for an authentic Mediterranean flavour. Seal and store in a cool, dark place and use within one month.
Preparing the tea
Use edible flowers and herbs only. Make sure that they have not been sprayed with insecticides and shake off any insects. The amount of petals or leaves you use depends on taste. Experiment at first by pouring boiling water over a tablespoon of fresh flowers or leaves. To get the full flavour, leave the tea to infuse for at least five minutes.
Use herbs and flowers with fairly strong flavours, such as lemon verbena, lime blossom, chamomile and mint, otherwise you may find the tea a little bland, especially if you are used to coffee or regular tea.
A strong floral infusion can be added to sugar syrup to use with fruit salads and cocktails.
Collect about three cups of rose petals and boil one cupful with one pint water. Simmer, covered for 40 minutes. Strain the petals and use the water to repeat the process with the remaining two cups of rose petals.
Strain the final product through muslin and store in tightly corked bottles in a cool, dark place for at least three days before use.
Making Fruit Liqueur
Soaking fruit in alcohol and sugar for a few months makes a delicious liqueur which can be drunk on its own or used in cooking and sauces. The fruit can be eaten separately as a dessert or dipped in chocolate to make special sweets.
Brandy is the most suitable spirit to put with fruits. However, Kirsch goes well with cherries, raspberries and pineapple, gin with sloes and redcurrants and rum with pineapple and bananas. The fruits should be ripe but unbruised and unblemished.
Bottled fruits in alcohol are expensive to buy in the shops and they are so easy to make yourself. The same method for making cherry brandy can be used for pineapple and bananas in rum, or fresh figs in Madeira.
You will need:
3lb morello cherries
Glass wide necked preserving jars
Use only ripe, firm morello cherries.
Normal eating cherries will not do. Wash the fruit and pat dry. Prick
each cherry all over with the darning needle.
Place the fruit in a clean wide necked container to reach just below the rim. Fill the jar up to a third full with caster sugar and pour brandy up to the rim. Seal the jar and store the bottled fruit for at least three months in a dark place, shaking the container every now and again to move the sugar and fruit around. Strain off the fruit and rebottle the brandy in a clean bottle.
This traditional 'rum pot' consists of layers of seasonal fruits and sugar, covered in rum and left to mature in a tall earthenware jar. If you use a glass jar, store the filled jar in a black plastic bag in a cool dark place.
You will need:
Caster sugar ( allow 8oz for every 1lb fruit )
Rum - use white rum for light fruits and dark rum for the summer berries. The rum should be 40% proof.
The best fruits are berry fruits, melon,
plums and grapes. Do not use any citrus fruits or apples, bananas and
pears. Remove any stalks and hulls. Plums and apricots need only be
halved and stoned. Remove the stems from cherries but leave the stones
in. Do not wash the soft fruit. Any melon will need to be peeled, seeded
and cut into pieces. Weigh the fruit and work out how much sugar you
will need. Clean the jar and put the prepared fruit in he base. Sprinkle
with sugar and stir with a fork to coat the fruit. Cover and leave for
Cover the fruit with rum and place a plastic plate or lid on the fruit and weight them to prevent the fruit bobbling up over the surface. Cover the jar and store. As different frits become available, add more layers of fruit and sugar and cover with rum until the jar is full. Store for about one month before using.
'Project submitted by Kimberley Merchant from Kimberley's Crafts'
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