Shrub: Think of it as the Healthy Vintage Soda

It was only a matter of time before I would try making a shrub. Loaded with berries’ antioxidants, and full of all the healing power of vinegar — I couldn’t resist. Combining berries and vinegar, with sweetener, into a healthy soft drink seemed enticing. This could be my drink of choice this winter. Plus, this might be nice for the kids to drink when they need vinegar’s help in fighting off a cough or a cold.

To make one, you simply wash berries of your choice (frozen are fine!) and place them into a sterilized jar. Mason jars will work, as long as you put plastic wrap around the rim to keep the acid from corroding the metal on the lid. I used wine bottles, with a cork. Prettier.

Then, you pour vinegar on top of the berries and let it sit for up to four weeks. HARD. Waiting. Next, strain the concoction (save the berries for chutneys!) and mix this with sweetener to make a fruity/acid syrup. To drink, mix with seltzer water and serve over ice.

Here’s the formula:

  • 2 cups fruit. Berries are the first choice — but you can also use peaches, pears and pomegranate seeds. I used cherries and blackraspberries.

 

 

 

And blueberries for another batch:

 

 

  • 1 pint vinegar. Apple cider vinegar, with the mother, gives a milder flavor. Just make sure the vinegar you use has 5 percent acidity.
  • If you’re going to use sugar, sweeten with 1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar — but I will leave the sweetener out, to sweeten as I pour — with whatever I choose. I’d like to believe I can use Stevia, Agave Nectar or Molasses — anything besides sugar.

Here are the rules:

  • Sterilize your jars and lids. Here’s more information if you aren’t sure. Very important step!
  • Add the fruit.
  • Add the vinegar.
  •  Store it for up to four weeks to let the berries infuse into the vinegar.
  • Strain it into another sterilized jar.
  • If you are adding sweetener now, place the vinegar and sugar into a saucepan, and boil until sugar dissolves. Pour into a sterilized jar.
  • Store it in the refrigerator — it can keep up to six months.
  • To serve, mix 1 tablespoon of shrub into an 8 ounce glass — adding more to your taste.

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