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A few sound ideas to make creating infusions fun and
Plan Ahead! Since you want to use only the freshest
ingredients, you may very well get to shop 2 times.
Once to buy the ingredients that will steep in the
liquid, maybe for weeks at a time, and again for the
fresh herb garnishes. (This is a great reason to start
growing your own herbs!)
Crack and crush spices with a spice or coffee grinder
that you wash well before using again. Grinders are so
inexpensive anymore that having one for spices and one
for coffee isn't much of an expense. Use a mortar and
pestle for a workout, or the bottom of a heavy skillet
against a cutting board.
"Bruise" fresh herbs with a wooden spoon instead of
cutting them for infusions. This not only will prevent
discoloration, but it releases more of the natural oils
in the herbs, as well.
Blanching (dipping quickly in steaming water) fresh herbs
will help bring out their deep colors and flavors, and
take away bitterness from some herbs.
Wash citrus fruits carefully with hot, soapy water to
get rid of all traces of pesticides and wax. Rinse and
Use a zester, stripper, or vegetable peeler to remove
the peel without getting any of the very bitter pith,
or white pulpy part between the skin and fruit.
Zest first, juice later.
Strain vinegars and oils through 3 or 4 layers of
cheesecloth, or just use a paper coffee filter.
Squeeze the filter or cheesecloth, and press down to
release all of the flavorful oils.