As usual we brought back a huge haul of strawberries. Some we simply ate while they were fresh but the bulk of what we picked were quickly transformed into three different types of jam, strawberry lemonade concentrate, strawberry shrub and strawberry champagne truffles. Some were pureed and frozen whilst others were pickled. We still had enough left to infuse in alcohol to preserve that beautifully fresh taste to sip in the future. Infusions are a simple yet delicious way to preserve a glut of fruit. My introduction to them many years ago was the classic British hedgerow tipple of sloe gin. Sloes were abundant close to where I used to live in London and turning them into a liqueur is pretty simple.
I would describe the process as more of a formula than a recipe: simply fill a jar to the top with fruit, add sugar to approximately a third of the level of the fruit, and then fill the jar with your alcohol of choice. It can be sloes and gin, blackberries and whisky, or in this case, strawberries and vodka. I usually leave this strawberry infusion for around six months before straining and bottling. The resulting liqueur is a beautiful shade of red and still carries a delicious taste of fresh strawberries. Of course, if you make a batch every year you will still have some previous vintages to enjoy while the current one matures.
For good measure I also infused a small batch of strawberries in bourbon without adding sugar. Something I haven’t tried before and I look forward to seeing how those turn out. I plan to enjoy the 2015 strawberry season for many months to come.