Homemade shrub is one thing you’ll always find in my refrigerator, all year round. There are many methods and recipes for how to make shrubs (all great, I’m sure), but I share my preferred method in my cookbook, WECK Small-Batch Preserving.
Though shrub can be made in a matter of a few minutes by cooking fruit with sugar (or other sweetener of choice) and making a syrup, I prefer to make fresh fruit shrub, without applying heat. The cooked method is great for when you are in a pinch. But, cooking the fruit makes it taste completely different, giving it a cooked flavor. By macerating the fruit for 3-4 days, as I direct in my cookbook, the fruit syrup retains a fresh fruit flavor and ultimately tastes better.
My method of shrub making can be applied to any fruits or fruit and herb combinations. Some fruits make better and more flavorful shrubs than others, but I’ve never made one I wasn’t pleased with.
Yield: 2-3 cups finished shrub
1.5 cups peaches, pitted and chopped (fresh or frozen)
1.5 cups organic or non-GMO granulated sugar (or other sweetener, such as brown sugar, coconut sugar, or maple syrup)
1.5 cups organic apple cider vinegar (or other vinegar of choice)
Combine peaches and sugar in a quart canning jar, shake or stir to mix. Place canning lid on jar and screw ring on the jar tightly. Place the jar on a counter at room temperature (out of direct sunlight) and allow the mixture to macerate over 3-4 days, so that a thick and delicious syrup is made. Shake the jar vigorously at least once a day, or use a spoon to stir up the mixture.
After 3-4 days, when a syrup is made and the sugar is dissolved, use a fine mesh strainer to strain out the solids, reserving the syrup in a measuring cup. Once strained, measure the amount of syrup made and add in the same amount of vinegar (about 1-1.5 cups) and stir to mix well. Store in a clean airtight jar and refrigerate.
To serve, I mix about 2 ounces of shrub with 6 ounces of water (or carbonated water), and drink over ice. Shrubs can also be used as a zingy and unique cocktail mixer. And don’t toss those solids! They are great to mix with plain yogurt for a quick smoothie or poured into popsicle molds for an easy, homemade popsicle.
For more stone fruit inspiration, follow: