A “shrub” is the old term for drinking vinegar, but you won’t see the $10 bottles in New Seasons labeled for a bush! A few tablespoons in a glass of sparkling water is the best thing on a hot day.
Our family has been making drinking vinegars for years, and in my experiments, I have decided it’s possible to cut the sugar entirely, and still have a drink that’s deliciously sweet provided you started with good fruit. Old recipes often suggest you can use unsellable fruit and I suspect that’s part of the reason they added so much sugar!! Instead, pour organic unpasteurized apple cider vinegar over fresh or defrosted berries to cover in a ceramic bowl, then cover the bowl with a cloth and let sit for a week on a warm counter, agitating daily. The vinegar should keep mold away, just make sure it always covers the fruit.
Don’t boil it, that ruins all the delicious fermented goodness in the vinegar!
Filter through cheesecloth (be sure to taste the solids, sometimes they are worth spooning over ice cream, especially the strawberry versions), and it will keep in a sealed bottle on a dark shelf for 6 months at least (I’ve used it up to 2 years happily but I don’t want to lead you astray with my wild ways…), and longer than you’ll ever know in the fridge (because if it’s in sight, you’ll drink it)!
Frozen Veggie Soup Base
Last year, we froze veggie soup without the broth, to save freezer space. Such a success we’re doing a LOT more of them this year, so we thought we’d share the idea with you! The method is super easy:
- Begin by sautéing onions and garlic as normal – 1 onion + 2 cloves garlic
- Add chopped veggies, whatever you have – 2 carrots, maybe some celery, squash, peppers, broccoli, green beans…
- If you’ve got ’em, add crushed tomatoes and sturdy greens (kale, or collards)
- When everything is just cooked, let it cool, then ladle into pint jars, leaving 2″ of headroom. Seal, make sure they are at room temperature, then put in the freezer!
When mealtime hits in January, take a pint jar of veggie soup base out of the freezer, defrost it in a warm bowl of water, then add it to two cups of broth in a pan, brought it to simmer and devour it. 15 minutes start to finish! It is easy to toss in leftover scraps (beans, pasta, grains…) to change it up.
2 lbs tender green beans
8 cloves garlic (at minimum)
4 large heads dill
2 cups water
2 cups apple cider vinegar
¼ cup kosher salt
You will also need 4 pint canning jars and lids, and a pot large enough to hold jars and water to cover.
– Clean and cut green beans and pack tightly and uniformly in hot, clean pint jars.
– To each pint jar, add 2 cloves garlic and 1 head dill. Optionally add ¼ tsp cayenne pepper for heat.
– Heat together water, salt and vinegar. Bring to boil; pour over beans. Adjust lids at once. Process in boiling water bath 5 minutes**. Remove jars from canner.
** If you will be eating these within a month or so (and why wouldn’t you?), it is not necessary to process them. Just pour the boiling brine over, cover, and refrigerate