Up until about a week ago, I'd never heard of a shrub other than those bushes you plant in your front yard to decorate your place. About a week ago, a relative sent me a gift box of local foods which included a bottle of orange shrub.
I looked at it, read the ingredients list and was absolutely surprised to see orange flavored vinegar as the first ingredient. A vinegar based drink? Wow. This is something new to me.
The word shrub is derived from the Arabic word Sharab meaning drink. In colonial times, shrubs were used by sailors to prevent scurvy which was caused by a lack of vitamin C. It also provided a safe alternative to water.
The shurb is mixed with water, sparkling water, tea, or other liquid. The shurb is a mixture of flavored vinegar mixed with sugar. It is not that hard to make your own.
1. Apple Shrub is made from 9 Grannie Smith apples, cored and sliced into 8 slices each. Mix with 4 cups of brown sugar, 2 tbsp cinnamon, and 1 cup apple cider vinegar. Mix, cover, chill, and stir once a day for 2 days. Strain and store in a glass jar for up to a month. Use 1/4 cup shrub to 1 cup of water, sparkling water, or other water.
2. Butternut Shrub - one four pound butternut that is halved and had the seeds removed. Bake at 350 with cut face down on a greased cookie sheet till done. It should take about 30 minutes. Scoop the butternut meat out and mix in a food processor with 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, 2 tbsp chopped sage, 1 tbsp chili pepper flakes, and process till pureed. Pour into a bowl, cover and let set for two days while stirring daily. Add 1 cup of white wine vinegar, mix well. Store in a glass jar for up to a month. Use 1/4 cup shrub to 1 cup water, sparkling water, or other liquid.
3.Fig Shrub - mix 4 cups of stemmed and quartered figs, 2 cups granulated sugar, 4 star anise pods together in a bowl. Cover and chill for 2 days making sure to stir daily. After 2 days, stir making sure sugar is dissolved. Strain mixture, making sure figs are pressed through. Place in a glass jar, add 1/2 cup champagne vinegar, mix well. Store in the jar for up to a month. Use 1/4 cup shrub to 1 cup water, sparkling water, or other liquid.
4. Pumpkin Shrub - roast a 2 pound pumpkin at 350 till soft. Mix the pumpkin meat with 1 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor till its pureed. Pour into a jar. Add 1 cinnamon stick, let set two days, stirring daily. Add 1 cup apple cider vinegar and mix well. Store in a glass jar. Use 1/4 cup shrub to 1 cup water, sparkling water or other liquid.
5. Blood Orange Shrub - Take the zest off of 5 to 6 blood oranges. Take the zest and add it to 1/2 cup raw or turbinado sugar. Mush the sugar into the zest for several minutes using a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let set for an hour. Remove the zest. Juice the oranges (should give 1 1/2 cups) and add the juice to the sugar before adding 3/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar. Stir till the sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture in a clean glass jar. Store for two to three days in the refrigerator before using.
6. Raspberry Mint Shrub. Take the zest off of two lemons and add to 1 cup of cane sugar. Mush the sugar into the zest for several minutes using a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let set for 1 hour. Remove the zest before adding 2 cups raspberries and 1/4 cup mint leaves. Mush it again with a wooden spoon. Cover and chill for one day. The next day, mush the mixture again before adding 1 cup apple cider vinegar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour into a glass jar and refrigerate for 1 week before enjoying.
Just to let you know, I've been drinking a bit of orange shrub in my tea. Its really not bad at all. I plan to make some this summer for my enjoyment. If none of these recipes strike your fancy, do a quick search and you'll find lots of different choices. Enjoy and let me know what you think.
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