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getting along with summer

Recipe: peach shrub

I’m the one who jumps for joy when I wake to a chilly, overcast, foggy morning in the middle of summer. For me, it’s the different between suffering (you know, the word suffer is just summer with the m’s swapped out for f’s) under the unrelenting sun in the high country and rejoicing in the cool, misty mountain air. Except last Friday I wasn’t sure how that would pan out. I had been battling a stomach bug for a few days, postponing my run until I felt better. I just couldn’t let this last day of cool weather go without getting in a trail run. My goal was to run 15 miles, but I cut it to 11 miles and a 2300 foot climb (up to 11,600 feet) when my stomach started feeling unsettled. Since Jeremy and I don’t run together (he is much faster than I am), we plan our routes to cross paths – so we had a nice date on Niwot Ridge and ran back together.


on niwot ridge

on the other side of niwot ridge with jeremy

tender soy sauce anise pork somen noodles to celebrate kris’ birthday



Consider that stomach bug kicked. Being sick in summer sucks. I count the days of summer for two reasons: 1) I cannot wait for autumn and 2) our summers are so short that each day is precious. An urgency exists to get out and hike or run every possible trail and see all of the flowers and animals before winter moves in for the long haul. And while I am winter’s ace #1 super fan, I do enjoy how the mountains are so stunning, colorful, and teeming with life at every turn in summer.

early morning moosies

heading into the woods

lush banks adorn full streams

parry’s primrose in bloom



Then there are the fruits of summer. And by fruits, I am talking about peaches today. The rest of the country gets its peaches much earlier than we do. In Colorado, we wait for the peach orchards on the Western Slope to ripen and begin delivering their local golden goodness in summer. It spoils you rotten and makes eating peaches at any other time of year sound like a very bad idea. I like eating them fresh, baking with them, jamming, freezing, and I also love making shrubs with these juicy, sweet orbs.

all you need: sugar, peaches, apple cider vinegar

chop the peaches



A shrub is a sweet vinegar-based fruit syrup. Shrubs have gained quite a bit of popularity in bars for mixing cocktails or soft drinks. The first time I tried one, I sipped it straight up. That was a bit intense and surprising, but it grew on me. I tend to enjoy them more mixed with seltzer water or in cocktails. The vinegar can be particularly refreshing and cooling in summer.

pour sugar over the chopped peaches

mix to coat the peaches

cover with plastic and refrigerate up to a week

after six days



What I love about making shrubs is the small amount of effort involved. You just need time. Chop the fruit, mix with sugar, macerate in the refrigerator for days while you do other things like live your life. When the fruit has given up most of its juices, strain the sweetened juice out. I’m sure you can think of something to do with that leftover fruit (make pancakes, toss it in a smoothie). Stir the vinegar into the fruit syrup and bottle it. That’s it!

strain the juice from the fruit

the yield was under a cup for me

be sure to scrape in any residual sugar

add the vinegar

whisk until all the sugar is dissolved



The peach shrub appeals to me more than the strawberry shrub, but both are lovely. I think it’s the kind of project that is worth experimenting with – different fruits, different vinegars, different combinations. But you definitely want to make them now, while various fruits are in season and at their best. Shrubs will last in your refrigerator for up to a year. That means you can sip on summer when the snow is piling up outside your door!

summer in a bottle



Peach Shrub
[print recipe]
from Serious Eats

1 cup fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1 cup sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar

Place the chopped peaches in a medium bowl with the sugar. Stir together until the peaches are coated with sugar. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until juice begins to pull out of the fruit and pool in the bowl. This takes anywhere from 5-6 hours to a couple of days. Leaving the fruit in the refrigerator to macerate for longer is fine. (Mine macerated for 6 days.) Strain the liquid from the fruit through a fine mesh sieve. Give it a gentle press from a spoon or spatula to get as much of the liquid out as possible. Any excess sugar left in the bowl should be scraped into the syrup. Whisk the apple cider vinegar into the syrup. Pour the shrub into a clean jar or bottle. Seal it and give it a good shake. Check on the shrub every few days. If there is undissolved sugar in the bottle, give it another shake to help it dissolve. By a week’s time, the sugar should be completely dissolved. Makes about 2-3 cups. Store up to a year in the refrigerator.


more goodness from the use real butter archives

strawberry shrub strawberry syrup cucumber spritzer crème de cassis (black currant liqueur)

16 nibbles at “getting along with summer”

  1. Annie Slocum says:

    I love shrubs! I had never made them before your post on strawberry shrubs but now make them with the ripest fruit! I made a wild one with CA kumquats, lemongrass, lavender and pink peppercorns that I posted on my blog.

  2. Eileen says:

    This is super intriguing, and such a beautiful color. I’ve been curious about shrubs for awhile, and am even more so now!

  3. Sara says:

    I will have to try this! I make blood orange shrub when I can find nice blood oranges. This looks like a great summer variant. I am heading to the Lafayette peach festival in two weeks to get my cases of western slope peaches. I can’t wait!

  4. Belmarra says:

    such a wonderful images. I like so much parry’s primrose.

  5. Jen says:

    I’d love to see the recipe for that delicious-looking bowl of bok choy, noodles poached egg and somen!

  6. jenyu says:

    Annie – nice combo! I think shrubs can get really creative (and yummy) :)

    Eileen – it’s easy enough to try a small batch to see if you like them.

    Sara – nice :)

    Belmarra – yes, those are some of my favorite flowers. So brilliant!

    Jen – here’s something similar: http://userealbutter.com/2008/09/23/chinese-pork-rib-soup-recipe/

  7. Mrs Ergül says:

    i love somen.

    Can this shrub be used in place of sugar syrups for drinks? I much prefer this than just sugar+water.

  8. jenyu says:

    Mrs Ergül – I think so, yes. If it isn’t sweet enough, you can add simple syrup or another flavored syrup. But I like it with some seltzer water and a dash of bitters :)

  9. Kate @ ¡Hola! Jalapeño says:

    I adore seeing your photos of the the mountains, it is such an incredible place. Thank you for sharing your shrub recipe, I can’t wait to start experimenting!

  10. Peach Rumba! says:

    […] the Use Real Butter chick introduced me to a recipe on her blog. When she got around to blogging a Peach Shrub, I knew it was time to give it a try. I followed her instructions, y’all. The only difference […]

  11. Terri says:

    Well, just finished putting together the peach shrub. Have to say it has an interesting flavor. The vinegar hits first and then the peach. I have to say I like it. Going to leave it in the fridge for now and see how the flavors mellow. I seem to always go for your drink recipes and haven’t been disappointed yet. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Mocktail: Peach Shrub | The MOB says:

    […] 25ml peach shrub  (chopped peaches, cider or white wine vinegar and sugar in equal quantities, mixed, left for a few days and strained.) 50ml apple juice 3 large sage leaves pinch of freshly grated nutmeg ice […]

  13. Dee says:

    I noticed a few cold-pressed recipes vary in regards to “when” the vinegar should be added. Is there a reason many recipes say to wait until you are ready to filter the fruit out of the sugar (a week or so) before adding the vinegar?

  14. jenyu says:

    Dee – I’m not really sure why. I imagine the sugar and fruit process allows the sugar to draw more of the fruit juice out of the fruit itself. Perhaps adding the vinegar too early would result in converting the sugar rather than the fruit sugars?

  15. Anna says:

    Hello Jen, the official first day of summer is nearly here and I was thinking of making this lovely shrub (my first time) I was wondering, is it okay for me to reduce the amount of sugar from 1 cup to 3/4 cup? Or use palm sugar an still get the same result? Thanks!

  16. jenyu says:

    Anna – Hi! I don’t actually know how flexible the sugar amount is in shrubs, and I mostly say that because reading various recipes, they all seem to stipulate the same proportion of sugar to other ingredients. I know that over time, the sugars convert to alcohol and then the alcohol converts to vinegar. When the pH of the shrub reaches a certain acidity, the sugar stops converting and there is “balance” in the shrub (why it is smoother after 2 weeks as opposed to 2 days). But you can certainly try it and see if it is palatable after 2 weeks?

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