When a Shrub is not A Bush! – Drinkable Strawberry Shrub, E.A.T. #16

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I am always amazed why it takes me so long to get around to trying something that I have known about for so long.  I have read about “shrub”drinks over the years, but had no idea how easy they are to make and how zesty & wonderful they taste, especially if you are a fan of vinegar drinks.

Before bottled colas & other sugary drinks became a ubiquitous part of our cultural landscape people made vinegar based fruit drinks commonly called “shrubs”. Mixed with carbonated water, Prosecco or even a Belgium Lambic beer results in one perfect warm weather cooler. I tried all three and found each deliciously appealing.

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A few simple ingredients are all you need to make your own bottle(s) of shrub to keep in the refrigerator chilled and ready to enjoy.  Fresh berries or other fruit, sugar, white wine, red wine & balsamic vinegars….simple and inexpensive.

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If you are a fan of kombucha, then I think you will find this recipe for strawberry shrub a new and interesting way to get your vinegar based drink fix. It truly is as “easy as this”! Give it a try,  let me know what you think.

Strawberry Shrub Drink

  • Difficulty: easyasthis
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs fresh, sweet strawberries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches), wash, hulled & chopped
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, dark or white
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups red wine vinegar

 

Directions:

  1. Mix fruit and sugar in a bowl. Crush berries with a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon. Cover for 1 hour or chilled overnight allowing fruit and sugar to meld and juices to be released from the fruit.
  2. Strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth, pressing the fruit to get out all the flavorful juice.
  3. Add balsamic, white wine and red wine vinegars to the strained juice. Store “shrub” in a lidded glass jar chilled until ready to use.
  4. For Mocktails put some of the shrub in a glass with ice and top with fizzy water. For Cocktails mix with Prosecco or a Peach Lambic Beer. Add a squeeze of lime or orange if desired. Adjust the amount of the shrub depending on your particular taste. I enjoy a very zesty drink with lots of that full-bodied fruit vinegar flavor. Experiment to come up with you own combinations.

Teresa Blackburn Food Styling

“Liz’s Magic Pickled Vegetables, E.A.T.#10”

quick pickled beets

My good friend Liz is a magician in the kitchen. I have often seen her “pull a culinary rabbit” out of her hat…or perhaps a seemingly effortless pasta dish for a dinner party…or little appetizers using basil leaves stuffed with cheese…really never a rabbit…she is a vegetarian!

She shared this incredibly ingenious trick for making quick refrigerator pickles with me a few years ago. The simplicity of a good recipe is what the magic is all about don’t you think? I am going to share Liz’s trick with you. Pass it along if you like. I don’t think she will mind at all.

It is E.A.T. ( Easy as This).  Here is what you will need to gather:

1.The juice from a store-bought jar of pickles saved after you have eaten the pickles . You will also need to have some other vinegar on hand just in case you need to top off the jar.

2. Vegetables such as carrot sticks, asparagus stems, cucumbers cut into wedges or thick slices, green beans or beets. You might come up with lots of other ideas.  I used Chioggia and Golden Beets peeled and cut into thin rings.

3. A few sprigs of fresh herbs like Dill, Rosemary or Thyme. Toss in a few mustard or dill seeds if you like.

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4. Nestle beet slices into a clean glass jar. Add fresh herbs & spices to the jar.

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5. Pour the saved pickle juice from the jar over beets. Top jar with your favorite vinegar to cover beet slices.

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6. Cover jar of beets with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate.  These pickles will keep for up to 1 month chilled, if they last that long!

The “magic” of this is that you can make pickles all year. There is no processing involved and it’s a good trick for cleaning out the crisper!

Print Recipe Here

Pickled Beets

Aren’t they beautiful? These pickles are so crispy & cold when you bite into them. Delicious with aged cheeses & olives, cured meats & thin crunchy crackers for little bites or as handy quick edible gifts.

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Every time I make refrigerator pickles with the juice from a finished jar of store-bought pickles I think of Liz and that is a good thing indeed.

Do you have any special recipes given to you by good friends? Are you keeping family recipes to pass down to younger member of your family? How important do you think it is to share recipes?