A home mixologist's remedy for when perishables fade...

I've had the busiest week.  I started a new job (yay!) and it has taken all of my time.  I also made a Costco run over the weekend which has resulted in a bounty of fresh produce in my kitchen, but due to untimely job obligations, I've had no time to use my delicious treats. We've all been there.

I had a free couple of hours this morning.  I should amend that... I had a few hours this morning where I avoided other obligations.  Again, we've all been there.  I looked at my wilting celery and my twenty-plus apples that are on their last legs and cried a little because I hate the idea of wasted food.  Normally my perishables go into huge dinners that I make that turn into lunches and all is well, but this week we haven't been home for dinner once.

My favorite remedy to this awful problem of food on the brink of compost is to somehow turn it into goodness that I can serve in liquid form.  My home bar benefits from this every now and then.  While I didn't have time to take many pictures of the process, let me share with you a couple of the beauties I made with my dying fruits and veggies.

Watermelon Juice

From Family Spice.

From Family Spice.

While not actually a huge fan of watermelon itself, I'm crazy about watermelon juice.  I often drink it with just a splash of club soda, or of course add other fanciful spirits.

Clarified Tomato Water

Tomato water is a new one for me.  I had a drink on our recent vacation in New York that changed my relationship with tomato liquid.  I overdosed on tomato juice in high school.  But there is an extreme difference between tomato juice and tomato water.  With a dozen squishy tomatoes and visions in my head of the oh-so memorable cocktail, I decided I had to make tomato water.

On the left is a Sweet Lorraine from Angel's Share in New York.  A fantastic concoction with tomato water, Japanese rice vodka, and basil.

On the left is a Sweet Lorraine from Angel's Share in New York.  A fantastic concoction with tomato water, Japanese rice vodka, and basil.

I need to recreate this cocktail, and so... I made tomato water using this hilariously awesome tutorial.  It really was a neat process to watch, and it tastes great, too!  It doesn't have any of the red fibrous skin that makes tomato juice so thick and creamy.  Tomato water is a clear, sweet liquid that while it still tastes like tomato, has a much different composition than tomato juice.

Celery Peppercorn Infused Vodka

This is a great way to use up limply celery, but before I go into that, do you know the best way to revive limply celery if you still want to eat it?  It is a miracle.  Simply cut off the base of the stalk and place the celery bunch in a few inches of water.  Leave it at room temperature for an hour or two, and you'll have stiff celery once again!  I think it is nothing short of a miracle.

But I digress.  If you have already revived your celery like I have and you're tired of eating it, turn into this liquid goodness.  I diced the last few stalks of celery that I had and placed it in a mason jar.  I added about two tablespoons of peppercorns, gave it a shake, and set it aside. I've yet to make this before, but I'll taste it in a few days and decide how much longer I want to let it infuse.  If you've never infused alcohol before, I seriously recommend it.  It is so easy, fun, and really hard to mess up.  You can come up with whatever creative combination you like!

Apple Pie Vodka

I'll be honest with you.  I wanted this one to be apple pie bourbon.  There's no better combination.  But I already had some cinnamon vodka infusing and I decided to just add to that.  The wonderful part of infusions is that they are so flexible.  You can do whatever you want and you'll come up with something amazing.

I had a jar filled with vodka and a few cinnamon sticks.  To that, I added one diced apple, a few tablespoons of cloves, and a couple whole nutmegs chopped in half.  

With the first day of school so incredibly close, I've been in a fall mood.  This concoction will certainly help me with that.

Pickles

I'm not actually a pickle fan.  I can't stand them.  But my sweet, sweet husband loves a good pickle and I had a Costco pack of cucumbers to use.  While in New York, we tried McClure's Pickles at Smorgasburg which was mind-blowing, so my pickle aficionado says.  He immediately was inspired to make them at home.

We roughly followed this recipe except we didn't have fresh dill.  I'm sure the fresh dill would improve the flavor, but I have to say even after just a few hours, our concoction smells pretty nice.  Eric will eat the pickles (all four jars of them, I hope) and I will drink the pickle juice in a play on a bloody Mary with my tomato water.

After one of the most fun mornings I've had experimenting in my kitchen in a while, reality is calling.  I urge you to assess your homely perishables before tossing them and experiment on your own to see what masterpieces you can make out of them!