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
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
|crème de cassis (black currant liqueur)