Pickled

About a year ago my husband and I discovered shrubs- a.k.a. drinking vinegar. Shrubs are often used in mixed alcoholic drinks, but we like to mix them with seltzer water. Jeff makes his way to the kitchen every evening about an hour before bed and concocts our evening soft drink.

There’s been a lot of chatter about the benefits of having a dose or so of vinegar every day. There’s discussions on what kind of vinegar, how much is a dose, and just what exactly are the benefits of swigging something that tastes that bad?

I don’t have all the answers. All I know is that we like it. We’ve found a way to drink it that is actually enjoyable. And we have seen benefits, the most pronounced being a lot less acid reflux in the night, and that alone is enough of a reason to keep going.

We first learned of shrubs when I found McClary Bros Old Timey Drinking Vinegars at Your Dekalb Farmers Market. They were pricey, but considering that the only other beverage we normally drink besides water is ginger ale, our budget had room to give it a try. We tried every flavor, and really loved the Michigan Apple Pie flavor the best. We even took it with us when we traveled.

This went on for several months, then suddenly I noticed that the quantity on the shelf at the market was getting smaller and smaller until it went out of stock. I checked into ordering it online, but the price doubled, and that was unacceptable. About this same time, I saw someone post about making their own shrubs, and I was intrigued. I tried to replicate the apple pie flavor, but it just wasn’t working. Then I read about making berry shrubs, and that opened a new window.

As many already know, Braggs has been considered the top dog in the healthy vinegar world, and I started out using it as my base for the shrubs. But, as many also already know, it’s also very expensive. So, I was pretty excited to find that White House has jumped on the organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar bandwagon, and it’s considerably cheaper than its Braggs counterpart.

The berry shrubs recipes I found online had a huge amount of sugar in them, which is a part of what it means to make shrubs, but I was deterred by the volume of it. I have not cut sugar completely out of my life, (hello, donuts), but I do look for ways to cut back on it.

So, here’s my recipe, and even the hubs who doesn’t believe in cutting back on sugar ever, likes it!

Berry Shrubs (makes about 1 1/2 gallons)

  • 16 cups cut/whole berries
  • 8 cups sugar
  • 16 cups raw organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Clean, cut and prepare fresh fruit. The fresher, the better!

Sugar the berries in a large bowl. This quantity requires a really big bowl! Leave in the fridge for about 24 hours to allow the berries to sweat.

Add the vinegar to the sugared berries. Put back into the fridge for another 24 hours.

Remove the fruit from the mixture. I freeze this fruit and use it in my morning protein shake. Definitely adds some spark to my morning as those berries hold onto the vinegar!

Pour vinegar into containers (I literally reused the gallon bottles the apple cider vinegar came in). Leave in the fridge for several more days- about a week- to allow the sugar to completely dissolve.

When ready to serve, just pour about 1/2″ of vinegar into a juice glass, then fill the rest of the way with seltzer water. Obviously one can play around with the combo to get the taste you like, but this is how we do it. Or at least I think so, since Jeffrey is the mixologist at our house!

Enjoy!