All infusions all the time: chive blossom vinegar & lemon vinegar ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

28 July 2013

All infusions all the time: chive blossom vinegar & lemon vinegar

Speaking of home infusions: I've spent quite a bit of time steeping various ingredients in vodka or brandy to make schnappses and liqueurs in the past few years. They're delicious and easy, and it's super satisfying to mix up a drink featuring your own personal concoction.

That walnut schnapps? I made an amazing black walnut Manhattan from it, with a little help from Savvy Housekeeping. Since it wasn't actual nocino, I doctored the recipe with lemon peel, cinnamon, and simple syrup. The results were all I could ask for in a cocktail: rich, interesting, and super luxurious. See?

black walnut Manhattan

But there's a catch with all this infusing. Guess what my cabinets look like now? That's right: they're full of random bottles of schnapps, many of which are a little challenging to use. I can't make much more without going completely overboard.

The solution? Infuse other things. How about vinegars?

For my first experiment, I decided to follow a tried-and-true method and infused champagne vinegar with chive blossoms. This sounded especially good because 1. we already had chives blooming in the side bed and 2. a nice oniony vinegar would clearly make some of the best & simplest salad dressings in the land.

chive blossom vinegar

Chive blossom vinegar

handful of chive blossoms
champagne vinegar

Start by gently rinsing your chive blossoms and laying them on a towel to dry overnight. The next day, put your chive blossoms in a glass jar and cover with approximately twice their depth in vinegar.

Steep for a week before straining your finished vinegar through a fine sieve, preferably lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter, to remove all plant material. You may need to filter more than once if you notice sediment in the finished product.

chive blossom vinegar

Voila! Bright pink vinegar, ready to liven up your salad dressing at a moment's notice.

So that takes care of our salads for the next month or so. What's next? Well, I like the idea of cleaning with vinegar, but its strong scent is not so great. So I decided to steep a bunch of lemon peels in white vinegar to see if I could tame the beast.

lemon-infused white vinegar

Lemon vinegar

lemon peels
white vinegar

Cut your peels off your lemons in wide strips. Pack them into a glass jar and cover with twice their depth in vinegar. I actually used a bit more vinegar than that, as you can see, but I think the end result would be better with more lemon. Certainly it would be more lemony.

Steep for a week or two, or until you remember that you have a jarful of vinegar and lemon peels in the cupboard. Strain through a fine sieve as above, removing all vegetable matter.

Use in DIY home cleaning applications with baking soda. Actually, this would also make a great salad dressing. Two for the price of one!

Hooray for infusions! Are you infusing anything at home lately?


Rebecca said...

SHRUBS. Eileen you must try shrubs if you are not already on the shrub bandwagon. Apparently they are all the rage in the craft cocktail scene? Anyway, macerate fruit with sugar in equal measure by weight until the fruit pieces are swimming in their own juices, adding any spice or herb you desire; strain out the fruit; dilute by half with the vinegar of your choice; use it in a cocktail or just put a couple tablespoons in club soda with ice. It is like lemonade but with a different sourness and it is SO GOOD. This is one I made this weekend (my first but will not be the last); it is bright pink and peachy and tart.

Michelle said...

I finally (FINALLY) tried some Nocello, Italian walnut liqueur. So. Totally. Hooked.

I'm just jealous you even have enough cabinet space at it is for all these great infusions.

Love the lemon infused vinegar. Brilliant

Eileen said...

I have not actually tried making shrubs yet! It's definitely on the list, though. Vinegar in a drink is certainly an intersting idea. And nocello appears to be close to the same thing as nocino, but with hazelnut along with the walnut. I'd never heard of that particular one before, but now I want to go find some of it too!