notes from maggie's farm
According to Slow Food USA Ark of Taste,
|image courtesy of slowfoodusa.org|
Ubiquitous in colonial times, the use of shrubs as a flavoring for tonic and sodas subsided with increasing industrial production of foods. The entire shrub market was practically ceased until the Tait family in Pennsylvania revived the drink. In addition to being available for commercial sale by the Tait’s, shrub is also served at establishments that stress historical connections to colonial times, like Williamsburg, VA, and City Tavern in Philadelphia."
Endangered?!?? Oh, my.
We set out to reproduce this little taste of yesteryear ourselves. Found lots of recipes which called for the fruit to macerate in sugar, however we wanted to keep it real, and there were no recipes without the processed sugar stuff. So we did what we do around here, we pulled out our lab coat, and attendant lab rat (the husband) and got to work. And we LOVE what became of our experimentation.
apple cranberry shrub
In a non-reactive saucepan, combine 2 apples, chopped, core, peel and all, and 1 cup cranberries, chopped, with 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 3/4c honey, and 1/2 cup water Bring to a boil and reduce heat, allowing to simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight jar and seal. Allow fruit to steep, refrigerated, for 3 days to a week.
To serve, strain fruit, and combine at a ration of 1 part shrub syrup to 3-4 parts sparkling water. Sweeten to taste with honey, if desired.
If you're a fan of kombucha, as we are, you'll love this effervescent cousin. And if you were to, say, want to dress it up for cocktails, no harm in adding a little gin to it, perhaps in place of the sparkling water. Champagne makes it a lovely, lively brunch punch. And by all means, experiment with the fruits in season in your area (I know we will); we'll be playing with pomegranate and thyme next. Yeah, herbs, too. There's no end to the madness!
We'll keep you posted, thirsty friends!