At the end of summer this year we focused on harvesting all the blackberries we could from our farm on Hornby Island. My aunt went out early in the morning picking buckets upon buckets of blackberries to make her new favourite drink. Introducing the Blackberry Shrub.
A Shrub, also known as a drinking vinegar, is a concentrated syrup used in beverages of all kinds. A shrub is made with fruit, vinegar, and sugar. You can use any kind of fruit, and any kind of vinegar whether it be white or apple cider, and you can even add different types of herbs for unique flavours.
Today’s drinking shrubs evolved from 17th century England, when vinegar was used to preserve fruit and berries for the winter. This practice was brought overseas to America by new immigrants. By the 19th century, shrub recipes called for pouring vinegar over fruit, and allowing the mixture to steep for a few days.
(for more information on shrubs visit https://www.madmaidenshrub.com/blog/beginners-guide-to-drinking-shrubs)
Here is our recipe
16 cups blackberries (or any fruit)
4 cups vinegar
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup sugar for every cup of juice (fruit and vinegar combination)
1. Combine blackberries and vinegar and in a large stainless steel pot. Mash the berries so that the vinegar covers them completely. Let stand overnight in a cool place.
2. Strain the seeds out of the juice mixture with a cheesecloth and measure the total liquid in cups. Add sugar according to taste (either 1/2 cup or 3/4 cup for every cup of juice).
3. Bring juice and sugar to boil over medium heat and boil for 5 minutes.
**you can either keep the shrub in bottles in your fridge, which lasts up to 6 months or you can process in a water bath for 10 minutes (at sea level), which may last 2-3 years.
4. Enjoy over ice with sparkling water, sprite, ginger ale or in your favourite cocktail.