My contribution to Drink Week 2012 (an event I organized!), a batch of Blueberry Ginger Shrub, is embarrassingly tardy. However, since I regularly operate under the principle that late is better than nothing at all, here’s my concoction.
I’ve been smitten with shrubs since I made my first one last summer. Shrubs are a combination of fruit, sugar and vinegar. Left to sit for a few days (or even longer), they develop a deep, sweet-tart flavor that I’ve come to crave. I most often use mine by stirring a splash into fizzy water, but they are also terrific in cocktails.
The nice thing about making shrubs is that they’re easy and keep for a very, very long time in cold storage. My kind of preservation project. It’s a very basic combination of mashed fruit, sugar and vinegar. The regular proportion is that you use equal parts of all ingredients, but I like to tweak it ever so slightly. To that end, I use a little extra fruit, cut back on the sugar a bit and keep the vinegar strong (I like puckery things).
Most of the time, I make a very basic shrub. My thinking has always been that I didn’t want to dilute the strong fruit flavor. But blueberries go so nicely with ginger, and I had a little chunk of fresh ginger kicking around the kitchen. I may never go back to the plain version.
To make this particular shrub, I tumbled a heaping cup of blueberries into the bottom of a quart jar and covered them with 3/4 cup granulated white sugar. Using a muddler, I smashed until the blueberries were a sweet, pulpy mess.
I added one cup of unfiltered apple cider vinegar and swirled the jar to help it incorporate. Finally, I grated a 2-inch piece of ginger directly over the jar (there was some spillage) and stirred one last time. After that, the jar went into the fridge to rest. While this no-cook process takes a little longer than one where you apply heat, I find that it just tastes better.
Once the fruit has steeped for a couple days, and there’s no sign of any granulated bits of sugar, you can strain your shrub. I simply pass mine through a fine mesh sieve, but it is imperfect and doesn’t catch every last fruit particle. I’m okay with this. However, if you’re more of a perfectionist than I, feel free to run it through a length of cheesecloth. Waste-averse often use the spent fruit pulp in muffins or smoothies. I manage that about half the time I make a shrub.
What fun fruit syrups, shrubs and cocktails have you been dreaming up lately?
I made black currant shrub a week or so ago. Wow. I just followed a basic shrub recipe and went from there. I’ve got an elderberry shrub hanging out in the fridge as well as Nanking cherry with balsamic vinegar thing and cucumber pickles that might become a shrub of sorts.
I, too, am in love with shrubs.
I have been wanting to try making shrubs for a while now. You have inspired me to try my own this weekend!
I’ve been so curious about your shrubs ever since you first starting talking about them. I have one hang-up though: do they taste like kombucha? Are they vinegary? Or, is it just a lovely tang? If so, I’m in! 🙂
They are definitely vinegary, but delightfully so. I’d say make a tiny batch and see how you like it.
I haven’t tried a shrub yet, but this sounds so good.
I keep hearing about shrubs, but I still haven’t tried any! (Maybe this is just part of living with someone who hates vinegar…) But blueberry and ginger sounds like an amazing idea. Maybe I will make a batch and keep it all to myself!
This sounds right up my alley. I don’t think I’d even heard of a shrub like this before! What kind of cocktails have you tried with shrubs?
You mentioned spillage when grating ginger: flip your microplane over, and grate with the ginger on the bottom. The shape of the microplane will hold all the grated ginger (or lemon zest, or whatever), and you just scrape it out into your receptacle.
Oh, boy! I have wanted to delve into shrub making. Thanks for posting! 🙂
I found a recipe for strawberry cordial in a British magazine…….macerated strawberries with sugar soake d for three days then brought to a boil with some red wine vinegar and strained….an American shrub!
this looks awesome, we will make it this week, thanks!
I just whipped this up today. Never tried a shrub before, but you’ve piqued my interest! I can’t wait to see how it comes out.
I made my first shrub last year too and became hooked as well. It’s one of the first things I make when different berries and fruit come into season. So far I’ve just stuck to pure fruit, but I’m toying with the idea of mixing in some spices and herbs the next time. This post may tempt me into that… Nothing is more refreshing on a hot day than shrub mixed with sparkling water on ice. So thirst quenching!
Hereis a wonderful cocktail I whipped up a couple of weeks ago using a rhubarb shrub. I used the boil method for this particular drink to slightly mellow the usual rhubarb tartness and let the sweetness of the strawberries shine through. Enjoy!
Juniors Strawberry Shrub-a-Dub
2 oz Junior Johnson’s Strawberry Moonshine
2 oz Fresh lemonade
1/2 oz coconut rhubarb Shrub (see recipe)
2 tablespoons fresh macerated Strawberries and their juice
1 sprig fresh thyme
Add 2 tablespoons fresh macerated strawberries to a cocktail shaker along with one sprig of fresh thyme them muddle. Add 1/2 oz coconut rhubarb shrub, 2 oz of fresh squeezed Lemonade, and 2 oz of Junior Johnson’s Strawberry Moonshine. Add ice and shake vigorously. Serve on the rocks. Garnish with Fresh strawberries.
Chop 1 cup of fresh rhubarb and coat with 1/2 cup raw sugar. Add 1/2 cup of water and bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat. Cool completely. Add 3 tablespoons
Coconut Vinegar. You can find coconut vinegar at your local Asian grocery.
You can find Junior Johnson’s Strawberry Moonshine here:
Never heard of a shrub, though it looks very similar to kombucha which we’ve been making at home for the last few months! Also very addicting! The pro of kombucha is that it has some good vitamins and probiotics, too. Downside perhaps is that it has some caffeine, though you could prob easily make it decaf.
We’ve done a ginger kombucha that was great and a ginger raspberry. Will have to try blueberry next! We add either fresh fruit or some kind of juice/syrup/compote. Whatever we have around the house. Tends to taste like a flavored (or plain) sparkling cider. Much better tasting to the storebought stuff!
I love your blog, I also enjoy canning, pickling, and preserving everything I can get my hands on! As a result, I have lots of recipes that use homemade preserves etc. and I was wondering if you would be interested in them. I would have emailed you but I don’t see an address. Thanks
Hi! My name is Sara and I have a blog called Stalk My Kitchen. I nominated your amazing blog for the One Lovely Blog Award!
I made a strawberry mint shrub a few weeks ago. I adapted a recipe I found on The Kitchn. It took me a little bit of time to get used to the vinegary taste, but now I love it. Since I was running out of the strawberry batch, I tried your recipe today. It sounds lovely. I can’t wait to make some with fall raspberries.
I’m going to try making this, only I don’t have any fresh ginger on hand, so I’m going to try using some stem ginger in syrup that I have on hand from making Jamie Oliver’s grilled Strawberries and Pimms.
I figure a bit of ginger syrup should give it a nice kick.
I had never even heard of a shrub but this sounds delightful. Will have to try it and then use it to flavor the water I drink constantly.
Thanks for the wonderful idea.
Also thanks for the cuppows I won from you. Am using them all the time to drink all that water out of canning jars. I love them!
Those are some stunning pictures. I love the idea of ginger-blueberry shrub. I ate some cardamon blueberry ice cream recently, which has me fantasizing about adding a few little green pods to this recipe.
I made a sumac-raspberry syrup a while back that works really well with fizzy water – something to use in lieu of lemonade. My plan is to do a rosehip/crab-apple syrup (possibly with hawthorn berries as well?) in the next 3-5 weeks (Depending on when things get ripe and when I have a spare hour to go foraging).
I made this recipe a few days ago, tried it today mixed with ginger ale. Very refreshing!
My first batch of this shrub syrup is mellowing on top of the fridge (I cheated and tried it after 1 day — I’m going to like it, I’m sure). Question, does anyone know whether the recipe works with honey instead of granulated sugar? I’ve got 4 beehives, and my kids don’t like honey! so I need lots of ideas. Thanks!
very curious to try the shrubs, but I happen to live somewhere where we don’t have access to fresh berries, is it possible to sustitue organic frozen berries in the shrub recipes?
btw, love your book, have been on a Okra and Dilly bean canning kick recently, husband loves pickles!
Mandy, you could certainly use frozen berries in the shrub. Just let them fully defrost before using and you should be fine.
I have just made pineapple vinegar (and served it with olive oil on watercress/chickweed/miner’s lettuce/mint salad) and need to figure out how to stop the fermentation. Also have a batch of blackberry vinegar that has a thick mother and I’m wondering what to do with it. If I heat up these vinegars, I feel like I’ll lose their delicacy. Any thoughts?
MaryAlice- Just refrigerate your concoctions to halt fermentation. Take the Mother of off the top of your blackberry vinegar and use it in your next batch to give it the good bacteria/probiotics/and good yeast. you are right…do not heat, it will kill all of that good for you yeast and bacteria.
Could one use ground ginger? I have everything but whole ginger to grate…but I have ground on hand. I can go ahead & experiment with it, I just wasn’t sure if you had only ever used whole ginger.
Ground ginger does not give you nearly the zip or depth of flavor that you get from fresh. You can use it, but the flavor won’t be the same.
This is the first shrub I have ever tasted and I’m so glad I did. This is really refreshing and fun. Thank you for your work. You inspire me. I have your books and watch your site. I have been a fan for a few years. Thanks again.
Could you do this with peach peels?
I’m trying to find a use for peach peels and I think this or making a simple syrup would be good – just simmer peels in water, strain & measure then simmer with equal amounts sugar?
I don’t know how much flavor peach peels would impart, but I think you should try it and find out!
I am very interested in trying out some different shrubs and would like to sell them at our local market with my jams and other preserves. Wondering about hot water bath canning them for longer storage? I am sure the acid would be high enough..
Could this be canned in the same way you did your raspberry shrub? Would love this throughout the year and with blueberries in season…… Loved the raspberry shrub by the way!
I need to try this combo. I have made a few different flavors of cold process shrubs. I love them in lemonade.