February 26, 2016

Farm Food: Raspberry Shrub

F79A0859It may seem strange to be writing about raspberries from a farm where they are completely out of season (all of these photos were taken in November apart from the last one), but so be it. It’s mid-winter here and I am in need of a new drink. Usually, I have a glass of wine with dinner every night, but I’ve been realising slowly and begrudgingly that as I get older, I start waking up in the middle of the night (sometimes for as much as an hour) if I’ve been drinking wine regularly. So I got myself out of the wine habit entirely during my dry January – slept like a baby for 10 solid hours every night – and now I am focused on allowing myself wine when I socialise but not on an average school night at home. Christopher, who is a non-drinker entirely, pretty much lives on Diet Coke, but I just can’t get my head around it. The only way I can force myself to get used to any kind of fake sugar drink is to load it up with ice and lemon. But why do I want to work so hard to get used to the taste of what is essentially poison?IMG_9742

So last weekend I dug around the storage freezer in our barn looking for what I could use to make myself a healthier, non-alcoholic alternative to wine. When I saw the bags of frozen autumn raspberries, I knew what I was going to make. (By the way, we live for autumn raspberries here – they come out in abundance in the middle of October just when everything else is dying and then stick around until the beginning of December. So plentiful are these bushes that we end up freezing a dozen bags of their fruit for a day like this when I am craving something sweet.) I realised that I could make shrub! What on earth is shrub, you ask? I didn’t know either. But my friend at Freeman’s explained to me last summer that it is a fruit and vinegar syrup that when mixed with sparkling water makes a fantastic booze-free drink. It was indeed the most delicious thing I’d had in a long time, whether made with strawberries, raspberries or even kiwi – the taste of fruit was so real and fresh and the vinegar gave it an almost wine-like flavour, kind of like how kombucha does. IMG_9737

When I came back to England and tried the Freeman’s recipe, I found it a little more vinegar-y than I had remembered so I have adapted it slightly to suit my own taste. And you may think it’s odd that I like to drink something so summer-y in the late February but I sometimes OD on a fruit when it’s in season and don’t appreciate it as much as I should. A nice big freezer makes it possible to revisit some of these flavours in the dark days of winter when we most need to be reminded of the warmer and sunnier months. IMG_9761IMG_9773

RASPBERRY SHRUB (couldn’t be easier):

1 cup raspberries

1 cup sugar

¾ cup red or white wine vinegar

Stir the raspberries and sugar together in a bowl. Cover with saran wrap. Leave overnight in the fridge.

Remove the mixture and pour it into a strainer. Use a spoon to push the liquid through the strainer in order to remove the raspberry seeds.

Put the raspberry/sugar mixture in a sauce pan and add the vinegar. Heat on low and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the mixture in a glass jar and shake it. Store it in the fridge.

To make a drink, add 1-3 tsps (depending on your taste) of shrub to a medium glass of sparkling water and squeeze a quarter of lime into it. Enjoy! F79A1788

 

Comments

Notify of
avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest
Shelly
Guest
Shelly
1 year 2 months ago

I too sleep better if I skip the evening glass of wine. I made a cranberry ginger shrub in the same way as your raspberry shrub and it was a super drink.

Jenn
Guest
Jenn
1 year 3 months ago

This sounds amazing! I’ve been looking for something new to make for guests who don’t drink alcohol, I live in the South where people tend to be more restrained, especially when they’re with mixed company. I refuse to make sweet tea because I think it’s horrible! Anything with vinegar in it is my jam!

Katie
Guest
Katie
1 year 3 months ago

For the past few summers, my brother in law has made rhubarb shrub and shared amazing cocktails for Memorial Day weekend. He also uses the leftover fruit pulp (?) to make a delicious appetizer spooned over goat cheese on a cracker or toast! BTW, wine does the same thing to me and I have taken to drinking kombucha over ice in a wine glass on school nights.

wpDiscuz