Have you found that all the holiday parties and dinners have left you with several partially-consumed bottles of vino, taking up space on your countertop, cabinet or table? Are you hesitant to throw them away, but just don’t see yourself polishing them off anytime soon?
You could invite me over to help chug-a-lug them for you.
Or you could try one of the following options…..
1. Quick and easy – pour the wine into ice cube trays and freeze. This lets you store the wine for as long as you need. When you are ready to cook with wine, just pop a couple cubes out and thaw. Plop them in your spaghetti sauce or soup to add extra flavor. Or thaw and make spiced wine or sangria later. Be sure to double bag your cubes once they are frozen for longer-term storage. This will protect them from picking up any odd flavors or aromas from other items in your freezer. Ahem, although you might keep your freezer cleaner than I do mine.
2. If you have a little time, make wine syrup. Place your leftover wine in a saucepan and add sugar in approximately a 3-parts-wine-to-1-part-sugar ratio. In the picture above, I used 2 cups of leftover Forche Renault and about 3/4 cup of sugar. You could also add a cinnamon stick and cloves or other spices of your choosing. Bring the mix to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces down to about 1/3 it’s original volume and it thickens. This will take a while – my batch took about 40 minutes to reduce down.
Cool the syrup and strain out any spices you used. You can store your syrup in the refrigerator for quite a while. Use the syrup over ice cream, fresh fruit, pancakes, mixed into salad dressings, or dribbled over baked brie. I’ll be sharing a recipe using this wine syrup in an upcoming post.
3. Even more ambitious: make wine jelly. Here is an excellent tutorial from America’s Test Kitchen.
4. Cook with the wine right away. Use your leftover wine to marinate meat for an extra punch of flavor. Or substitute part or all of the liquid in a recipe that calls for broth or water with your leftover wine. One of my favorite things in the winter is to make tuna noodle casserole using our Courtois wine. I just use wine instead of the milk that my better homes & gardens cookbook calls for in it’s recipe. You can do the same with most any recipe.
5. Make wine vinegar. While this is a long-term project, there’s nothing like wine vinegar for great salad dressings. Here is a resource for how to make your own vinegar.
6.Clean with your wine. Really! Those white wines can be used to help remove red wine stains from clothing – just soak the stain in the white wine until it’s gone, then wash your clothing as normal. Red or white wines can also be used to take lime scale off of glass or plastic. Cover the lime scale with wine and let soak for a day or so. Then when you wash the item, the scale should be all dissolved away.
I hope these ideas on ways to use up leftover wine helps you get cleaned up a bit from the holidays. If you have other ideas for ways to use up extra wine, please share them with us in the comments. Cheers!