Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Drinking a Shrub and Eating Some Wine

My "Food In Jars" challenge for March was jelly and shrubs.  Yes, 'shrub' but not like the evergreens in your front yard.  Whole different thing but first let's see the jelly I made.

I really did not feel like fooling around with fruit.  But someone in the group mentioned making jelly out of wine.  Hmmmm... that got my attention because we have a lot of wines from various wineries we have visited.  Problem is... we don't drink a lot of wine.

I did an Internet search for wine jelly and came up with dozens.  Wanting to keep it simple I picked "White Wine with Herbs" jelly.  Herb of choice ~ thyme from my herb bed.

Cooking up the batch.

And in the jars.  It is very pretty and smelled wonderful.

Tasted great too.

However, I did have a problem with the set.  Basically... it didn't.  Well, maybe a little.  You could call it a very thick syrup or a very thin jelly.  So I'm going to reprocess the batch and see if I can get it to thicken up.  The kinks will definitely be worked out because it is so good.

OK, now the 'shrubs'.

A shrub is a syrup used to flavor drinks of many kinds; sparkling water, clear soda, or alcohol.  It's made with a 1:1:1 ratio of fruit - sugar - vinegar.  Yes, vinegar.  It's origins are in ancient Persia.  It was popular in England (and eventually the United States) from the 1500s to the late 1800s.

It's popularity waned during the 1900s.  But in the last 7 years it has made a comeback as a drink mixer.  (I'll stick with the club soda, thank you.)

There are two methods to make a shrub.  First is the hot method.

You heat your fruit (these are some black berries I picked) with the sugar.

Mash them up to release all the juices.

Cook down a bit and add the vinegar.

I used 2/3 of a cup apple cider vinegar and 1/3 cup honey ginger balsamic vinegar.

It's then strained of the fruit.

I poured the liquid into a canning jar for ease of storage.

Honey Ginger Blackberry Shrub.

It's taste?  Oh. My. Goodness.

The second method of making a shrub is the 'cold method'.

You mash up some fruit with sugar and let is mellow on your counter for a few days.  Then you add your vinegar, strain, and bottle like with the hot method.

The above is my 'pre-shrub'.

They are strawberries I picked and didn't get processed into jam.  This shrub will be ready Thursday and will be Strawberry Balsamic Shrub.

I'll let you know how it tastes...

EDIT:  Thursday has come and we finished the strawberry shrub.

I didn't think it was possible but Balsamic Strawberry is better than the Honey Ginger Blackberry!

I had about 2 tablespoons of a very good balsamic left in a bottle, so I added it to the apple cider vinegar.  MMMMmmmmmm...

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