Recipe: Fruit shrubs

After all the excess of Christmas, New Zealand chef Emma Galloway provides a refreshing alternative to the celebratory season bubbles for children and adults with a shrub — aka a drinking vinegar — recipe.
Tart and zingy all at once, shrubs are a great way to harness the seasonal flavours of fruit, and they are a beautiful and natural alternative to fizzy drinks.You can use almost any fruit — the combinations of fruit with spices, herbs or flowers are endless! To get the most beneficial bacteria, look out for good-quality (preferably locally made) raw, organic, unpasteurised apple cider vinegar.
 

Makes: about 1 litre (4 cups) syrup

Gluten-free/vegan

  • 1kg fruit, finely sliced
  • 400g (2 cups) golden caster sugar
  • 287.5ml (11½ cups) good quality apple cider vinegar

Combine sliced fruit and sugar in a glass bowl or container. Mix well, cover and set aside on the benchtop for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally. Transfer to the fridge and leave for 4-5 days. If you remember, give it a stir once a day. You’ll find that the juice from the fruit will mingle with the sugar to create a lovely fruit syrup.

After 4-5 days, strain mixture through a fine sieve, saving the syrup and composting the fruit. (I’ve heard of people using the leftover fruit to cook with, but I personally find it way too sweet. You decide.)

Combine syrup and apple cider vinegar (250ml/1 cup if you like a less-prominent vinegar flavour, or 375ml/1½ cups if you like it stronger), then pour into a glass jar or bottle, seal and refrigerate for another 1-2 days before using. (You can serve it straight away, but I find the flavour is much nicer if its had a little time to mingle).

To serve, pour 2-4 tablespoons syrup into a glass and top up with soda/sparkling water. Add ice, if you like. The syrup will keep indefinitely in the fridge.

Variations

Strawberry & chamomile shrub (pictured): Use 1kg strawberries, hulled and sliced, and 2 tablespoons dried chamomile flowers or the contents of 2 chamomile tea bags. Follow instructions as above.

Plum, cardamom & black pepper shrub: Use 1kg plums, stones removed and finely sliced, and 1 teaspoon each cardamom seeds and black peppercorns, roughly crushed. Follow instructions as above.

Feijoa & ginger shrub: Use 1kg feijoas (pineapple guavas), ends trimmed but unpeeled, and 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger. Follow instructions as above.

Rhubarb & ginger shrub (pictured): To balance out the tartness of rhubarb, this shrub has slightly different ratios than fruit shrubs. Use 500g rhubarb (about 4-5 big stalks), ends trimmed and stalks finely sliced, 400g (2 cups) unrefined raw sugar and 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger. Follow the recipe above to make the syrup, then strain and mix with 250ml (1 cup) apple cider vinegar. Makes approximately 500ml (2 cups) syrup.

Tip: if you go through lots of sparkling or soda water, maybe invest in a soda machine to cut down on plastic waste.

 

The book: My Darling Lemon Thyme Every Day, Emma Galloway, HarperCollins, RRP $60
 
 
 

 

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