Rapid Infusion on your Walk

IN

I have grazed, nibbled and browsed my edible landscape for many years, but never imagined it would be possible to drink as well as eat a walk in the moment. Infusion into liquids is traditionally a slow process.  Then I discovered rapid infusion.

With the help of a nitrous oxide (N2O) “iSi cream whipper”, it is possible to pop the flavours of your walk into a liquid (anything from water to The Botanist Gin), and with the screw of a canister, blast the flavours into a potion that is the essence of your walk.

I love the notion of each walk having its own cocktail. When I take folk out on forays, I warn them in advance that we will be adding a little of everything edible to “the cauldron”. This means that every walk will have its own flavour profile, some nicer than others!

With experience, (and some very exciting trial and error!), its possible to manage the proportions of ingredients to achieve a balanced, pleasing liquor that captures the best of a walk. See my tips below….

With thanks to Danny Whelan and Craig Grozier

1. You’ll need to invest in a iSi N2O Cream Whipper and a load of N2O charges. Don’t go for a huge one (we suggest the half litre size) because the fuller you can fill your cauldron, the better the results. You should be able to get this and charges for £30-£40. Be sure to get N2O, not CO2 – which doesn’t do the same job (though most iSi whippers take both, so it may be fun to have a few CO2 charges to carbonate after infusion).

2. Add edible leaves, berries, flowers etc to the cauldron. Soft herbs work best, firm fruits and nuts, not so well.  The key point is to experiment – but please remember that “experiment” does not mean randomly picking plants. All the usual safety notes about being 100% certain of identification and edibility apply. If in doubt…leave it out!

3. Add the liquid you wish to infuse. Plain water works, but alcohols like vodka or gin infuse better. You can always dilute later if its too strong. The less air you leave in the cauldron, the better the results.

4. Screw the top on the cauldron then screw in the N2O charge. You should hear it discharge into the chamber.

5. Shake then leave for a minute before charging with a second shot of N2O. Shake and leave for another minute. If your cauldron isn’t very full, you may wish to do a 3rd charge.

6. Hold the whipper upright, preferably outdoors, and pull the trigger to discharge the pressure, stopping and waiting when the contents try to foam out. Continue until all the pressure is released. It is this part of the process that releases flavour-infused bubbles from the ingredients. Rapid release of pressure means more flavour – but you don’t want to shoot all your precious liquid into the air!

7. When the pressure is fully released, unscrew the top of the creamer. Pass the contents through a fine sieve (I carry a small tea strainer for this purpose).

8. Drink your walk! Why not post your favourite walk/drinks on The Botanist Website, giving ideas of what went in and in what proportions…?

Mark Williams is a professional foraging tutor.  Check out his website Galloway Wild Foods

Related article: Taste Your Walk

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