We had a lot going on this summer, between traveling and other things. Both my husband and I have been looking forward to having more calm life come fall.
After, of course, the flurry that occurs during the harvest.
There were so many things that we thought we might be able to harvest this spring. Most of those flowers, though, never bore fruit.
Plus, a couple of things that we’d been looking forward to ended up not having fruit for us. Not that they didn’t fruit, but we didn’t get any.
While we were gone this summer, a bear got into the enclosure around the Aronia berries. It stripped all the bushes. There were no berries left at all when we got back.
In addition, the bear tore down the gooseberry bushes, trying to get at the berries. So not only didn’t we get any berries, the bushes were torn to pieces.
Luckily, you’re supposed to cut back the gooseberry bushes each year during the winter. I’m waiting until the end of October, then I’m cutting all of it down to the height that the bear stripped it to.
However, we did get a lot of apples and grapes this year.
We had friends come out and take home apples as well as grapes. We didn’t give all of them away, though.
In previous years, we’ve dried a lot of the apples, as well as made apple chutney. Might yet do that with some of them. But mainly we made shrub.
What is shrub? According to Wikipedia, there are several various definitions. The one I’m referring to is a drinking vinegar. I generally mix it with carbonated water. I use one larger jigger (1.5 oz) to 16 oz of water. It makes a very mild-tasting drink, a flavored water similar to Spindrift.
How do you make shrub? We use the simplest recipe, a 1:1:1.
1 cup of fruit
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of vinegar
Or however many cups of each that you have.
First, add the fruit and sugar together into a container that you can seal. Most recipes call for layers of fruit and sugar. That’s to mix them. We generally just put them in, close the jar, and shake the mixture.
Let the container sit on your counter for 24-36 hours, shaking it every now and again.
The sugar will pickle the fruit, and draw out juices from it.
If you find that you have a mass of sugar at the bottom of the jar chances are that the fruit wasn’t cut up finely enough. We’ve been known to use an immersion blender at this point.
Once the fruit has pickled enough and you’re getting some juice from it, add the vinegar and mix well. Put the container in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours, stirring regularly. Depending on the fruit, it may take longer for the vinegar to be incorporated.
Depending on the fruit, it may take longer. We’ve kept the fruit in the shrub after adding the vinegar for up to 48 hours.
Once the shrub has this wonderful combination of sweet from the sugar and tart from the vinegar, you want to strain out the fruit. Just use the remains of the liquid syrup for making your drinks.
The remaining fruit must (yes, that’s the technical term for the remains) can be used in any number of ways.
When we make rhubarb shrub, my husband eats the slices of rhubarb as a snack.
I’ve put the must into cooked things, like scones and muffins.
You can also warm it up and pour it over ice cream.
So there you have it! Go get some fruit and make some shrubs. Yes, some claim that it’s good for you. We just like them because they’re delicious, without being too sweet.
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