Strawberry Balsamic Shrub Syrup and How to Make Shrub Syrup
This is a guide on how to make shrub syrup! What am I talking about? You’ll find the answers and a Strawberry Balsamic Shrub Syrup Recipe below.
When I told some of my friends that I had a shrub in the fridge they looked at me like I was insane. I realized that not a lot of people know what this concoction is or what it can do! I’ve been meaning to make a shrub of my own since the Big Summer Potluck almost a year ago.
At the potluck, I had a stomach ache and I felt my acid reflux creeping up on me. That’s not really the best feeling at a celebration of food and friendship. They were serving drinks with shrub syrup in them and upon learning that it might help my stomach (due to the vinegar) I grabbed myself a glass.
It totally worked, even with the alcohol included, which normally would aggravate the reflux further.
What is a Shrub?
A shrub is a mixture of fruit, sugar and vinegar. The fruit of choice is usually berries, but I plan on making a stone fruit version later this summer when peaches and cherries start rolling in. According to “Cocktails take an Acid Trip,” In the 17th Century, making a shrub was done to preserve fruits to enjoy during the winter months, much like jam, but in the form of a liquid. Even before this, shrubs were used to cure coughs and colds. In my case, it helped alleviate my upset stomach and acid reflux.
You can make a shrub with little ingredients and in two ways: with heat and without heat. I prefer the cold method because the flavors are more intense the longer it sits, which I’ve highlighted below.
How to Make Shrub Syrup
The photo above was right before I hulled the strawberries.
Making shrub syrup couldn’t be any easier. Don’t worry; I’ll walk you through the process. The strawberries were macerated with sugar in a bowl with a lid for 2-3 days and syrup slowly formed. Using a strainer, I strained the sweet syrup away from the strawberries into another bowl. I pressed on the berries with a spatula to remove any absorbed juices, while spooning any lost sugar back into the syrup mixture.
The syrup was combined with vinegar of two types: balsamic and apple cider vinegar to create this sweet yet sour summer shrub. Once combined with the syrup I used a small funnel to add the shrub to a glass bottle with a cap. I added all of the un-dissolved sugar to the bottle as well and let it sit in the fridge to dissolve some more as the taste changes over time and the sugar will fully dissolve. Once dissolved, you will taste more of the fruity strawberry flavor.
Above is how the strawberries will look after a few days in the fridge covered with sugar.
I opted for the slower way because the fruit flavors are bolder in the end. This takes days instead of hours but I think it is totally worth it!
You can combine this drink with your summer cocktails, seltzer, carbonated fizzy water or unsweetened green tea, my personal way to enjoy this particular shrub.
Potential Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar:
Upon discovering that it made my stomach feel better, I did some research and I found out that Apple Cider Vinegar could possibly help with a whole slew of ailments, such as diabetes, acid reflux, and weight loss. As with everything, there are usually side effects or risks involved so be smart about using it all the time.
Disclaimer: I’m not saying go run out and chug a bottle of apple cider vinegar by any means. That would be silly as it is very acidic. If you do decide to add vinegar to your diet, make this recipe! Or mix a small amount and with another drink or water to dilute the acidity. I’m not a health care practitioner of any kind so remember to always consult with your doctor.
This recipe may seem complicated or intimidating but I promise you, it isn't! It is only 4 simple ingredients and you probably have at least 3 of them tucked inside your pantry. Give it a go and enjoy!
Yield: ~ 3 cups
Prep Time: 2 days
Cook Time: 00 min
Total Time: 2 days and 30 minutes
2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 cup unrefined sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup balsamic vinegar
Put the lid on the bowl and set aside in the refrigerator for 2 days.
When removing strawberry and sugar mixture from the refrigerator you will notice that a syrup has formed and the strawberries have turned to mush. This is perfect!
Discard the mushy strawberries once all of the retained syrup is removed from them.
Add both the apple cider vinegar and the balsamic vinegar to the bowl and stir. Using a small funnel, pour the syrup and sugar into a glass bottle with a cap. Set in the refrigerator for another 2-3 days or until all of the sugar is fully dissolved.
The longer it sits, the sweeter the syrup gets and the more fruit flavors shine through the vinegar. It may smell like vinegar but it really does have a sweet taste. Mix with freshly brewed iced green tea or a carbonated beverage of your choice. Feel free to add booze and make a shrub cocktail.
Recipe based off of information found in The Art of Fermentation