Friday, June 5, 2015

Let the Shrub Ferment!

The recipe I started last night will be ready on the 4th of July!

No, it's not friendship bread or friendship cake.  (Though, now that I type that, it would be a fun summer project!)

It's shrub!

It's that vinegar-and-fruit-based drink that was so popular in colonial America (which got it from the rum- or brandy-based fruit drinks popular in England, which apparently grew out of older medicinal drinks.  And preserving berries or other fruits in vinegar was common esp in the colonies.)  And this recipe for raspberry shrub, from Saveur, is fermented.

Okay, I imagine you're thinking, "you're going to drink vinegar?"  Think of it like the lemon juice or citric acid in a drink, giving it tang (and not like the Romans giving Jesus vinegar to drink on the cross, which, by the way, is mistranslated--the original Greek is something akin to cheap wine, my prof said.)   'Cos there's enough sugar in the drink to balance it out.  Once the syrup ferments on the counter for a month, we'll strain it and add it to seltzer.  Yum!  I've had shrub in a few places, the best being City Tavern in Philadelphia--they make a raspberry shrub, too, based on a recipe of Martha Washington's.  (You can also buy it bottled to add to seltzer yourself.)

Maybe it can be a new tradition for 4th of July--making a batch of this very American drink!


Fermented Raspberry Shrub

4 cups raspberries
4 cups sugar
4 cups champagne vinegar
4 cups water

Mix all ingredients in a sterilized jar and cover.  Ferment in cool place for a month.


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