It’s finally strawberry season and I have a recipe that you can use fresh strawberries if you’re in my part of the world or frozen ones if yours aren’t quite ready yet.
A shrub is an old-fashioned way of preserving fruit flavors and is an amazing mocktail or cocktail. You heat apple cider vinegar and then infuse the strawberries in it for 1 to 2 days. Then you strain the liquid into a saucepan and heat with your sweetener. Nancy calls for sugar, but you could use the sweetener of your choice, to taste.
This recipe is perfect with some sparkling water for a refreshing mocktail, but I have to admit I like mine with a little gin from time to time. Happy Spring!
Nancie McDermott's Strawberry Shrub
Shrubs are a lovely means of preserving summertime berry goodness for sipping on the porch while lightning bugs flicker or by the fireplace come winter. Vinegar adds a tangy kick to the ruby fruit, making a syrup that can be added to club soda or sparkling water to make a homemade soft drink, or stirred into champagne, white wine, or a cocktail for a spirited refreshment.
- 3 cups apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups trimmed and quartered fresh or frozen strawberries
- 3 cups sugar
- Prepare a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid as directed in “How to Sterilize Jars for Storing Jams and Preserves in the Refrigerator.”
- In a medium saucepan, heat the vinegar until it is just about to break into a bubbling boil and remove it from the heat. Place the strawberries in the prepared jar and pour the vinegar over them, making sure they are covered by an inch of vinegar. Let cool to room temperature and then cover tightly. Set aside in a cool, dark place for 24–48 hours (be sure the jar is not exposed to heat or light).
- Strain the vinegar into a medium saucepan and discard the solids. Add the sugar to the vinegar and bring to a rolling boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. As soon as the sugar is dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and let the shrub cool to room temperature. Pour the shrub into a clean, sterilized jar and cover tightly. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
- To ensure that the jams, jellies, preserves, cordials, and other homemade foods you store are safe and free from microbes, use sturdy jars and lids designed for storing food and sterilize them before use.
- Look for sturdy, heatproof glass jars and lids designed for canning and food preservation at hardware stores and many large supermarkets.
- To sterilize your jars, place them in a pot large enough to allow water to circulate around them. Place the jars in the pot and add enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring the water to a rolling boil over medium heat and boil for 10–12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the lids and rings in a smaller saucepan with enough water to cover them by 1 inch. Bring the water to a gentle boil, reduce the heat, and a simmer for 10–12 minutes.
- While the jars are boiling, place a clean kitchen towel on a countertop where you will be filling the jars. When the time is up, using tongs, carefully remove the jars and place them upside-down to drain on the prepared towel. Transfer the lids and rings to the towel as well.
- Prepare the jam or preserves according to the recipe and let it cool to room temperature. Carefully pour or spoon it into the jars, leaving ¼ inch of headroom. Cover each jar with a lid and ring, twisting just enough to tighten it. Label each jar with the contents and date of preparation. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
These instructions for How to Sterilize Jars for Storing Jams and Preserves in the Refrigerator are approved for promotional use with the provided credit line. Please contact Gina Mahalek at (919) 962-0581 or firstname.lastname@example.org to request permission to use any additional recipes from Nancie McDermott’s Fruit: A Savor the South Cookbook.