Shrubs

In May, I went to Cape Cod for a week with Dan’s family. We stayed in a charming house in Wellfleet, just down the street from Lola’s Local Food Lab, a very small store beneath the Lighthouse Restaurant that sold spices and shrubs and blueberry muffins. I had been introduced to the idea of vinegar drinks in the book Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World, but I’d never heard of ‘shrubs,’ which are more like vinegar fruit syrups that can be added to drinks (or used in other ways). The proprietor let us try the shrubs, and I ended up purchasing one for me and one as a thank you for my friend who was watching our cat for the week. I used mine up very quickly, adding it to my SodaStream water, and by early August was looking for recipes to make my own.

I referenced a few different websites for guidance, but probably relied most heavily on this one from Serious Eats. I used the cold process recipe.

I made two different types of shrubs – a peachy one and a blackberry one.

For the first, I used:

  • 8 peaches, peeled and pitted, cut into inch-ish size pieces
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups of vinegar, consisting of
    • 1 3/4 cups apple cider vinegar
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

For the second, I used:

  • 12 oz. blackberries
  • maybe 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup of vinegar, consisting of
    • just over 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
    • just under 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar

It was really easy. The worst/most time-consuming part was probably peeling the peaches. I hate peeling anything and opt not to do it if at all reasonable. But for my first attempt at shrubs, I decided to stay as close to the guidance as possible. I might consider not peeling the fruit if I make shrubs again. I’d also be interested in options to reduce or not use the added sugar, although I recognize the role the sugar plays in drawing out the fruit’s juice. (For the most part, I stopped eating added sugar on June 1 – the shrubs were one of the few departures from that over the past several months.)

Anyway, they were super-tasty. It’s now almost the end of November, and I just finished them both last week. I used them mostly in soda water, but also with whiskey (especially the peach one) and Campari (especially the blackberry) cocktails.

*Lip smack.*

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