Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rhubarb Shrub. Vegan and Gluten-free.

D's mother gave us two large freezer bags' worth of rhubarb a while ago and they stayed in our freezer  as I decided exactly what to do with them. I've made rhubarb ice cream in the past, and there's always a strawberry-rhubarb tart to be had, but this time I wanted to try something a little different.

Enter: Rhubarb Shrub.

I don't know where I first heard the term, but the word "shrub" suddenly popped into my head when I was thinking about what to do with the copious stalks of fruit. I don't think I had ever tasted a shrub before, at least on its own, although it sounds like something that would be easy for bars to make and add to cocktails.

After searching for the term online, I came across this recipe which I ended up adapting slightly. I am very content with this beverage, and can't wait to try it with another fruit as the summer brings more variety to the farmars.

Rhubarb Shrub
Adapted from Cocktail 101: How to Make Shrub Syrups

Ingredients:
The original recipe called for one part each sugar, rhubarb, and vinegar, but I decided I wanted a bit of the natural tartness of rhubarb to shine through, so I actually reduced the amount to about 1/2 part sugar to one part rhubarb. Obviously, you should do what your tastes tell you, and keep in mind: rhubarb is VERY and naturally tart! That being said, my amounts were:
2 c. rhubarb, sliced
1 c. sugar
2 c. vinegar


Method:
I followed the original recipe very closely here, since I had never made anything like this before.

1. Slice [washed] fruit. 
2. Cover fruit with sugar and stir until it is well covered. Stick in fridge for at least a few hours and up to 3 days.

3. Remove from the fridge after the sugar and fruit concoction have produced a juice.

4. Strain the fruit, pressing down on it to make sure you really get all the juice. I used the fruit in a crisp later. 

5. Add vinegar. I used a combination of white vinegar, red wine vinegar, and my favorite - this blackberry vinegar.  Whisk well until sugar dissolves completely. 
6. Pour shrub into a new jar and keep refrigerated until ready to drink. If you see sugar settled at the bottom, shake the liquid before using. 
I've enjoyed mine in a cocktail (with mild sake) as well as by itself. In fact, it taste almost like kombucha, and because I didn't have to both with a scoby, that makes it even better in my mind!

Have you ever had or made a fruit shrub? What's your favorite flavor?

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