Summer Shrub

SHRUB: FRUIT AND HERBS IN VINEGAR

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From my favorite teacher, Nishanga Bliss and her food blog:

Flavored vinegar can be added to sparkling water, cocktails, or blended into salad dressings.  Drinking a little vinegar before meals is a great way to stimulate appetite and improve digestion.  Nishanga recommends using local honey instead of sugar, an organic raw apple cider vinegar, and avoiding cooking the fruit to maximize the enzyme content of your drink.  In this way, you will consume the most medicinal version.

Makes about 1 ½ quarts

4 cups coarsely chopped fruit, such as berries, grapes, stone fruit, etc.

2-4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, rose geranium, basil, etc.

4-6 cups raw apple cider, rice, white wine or other mild vinegar

1-3 cups raw honey or sugar, to taste

Combine the first three ingredients in a 2 quart Mason jar and allow to infuse for 2-6 weeks.  Strain, add sweetener to your taste.  Enjoy.  If you are using the shrub as a drink, dilute with 4-5 parts water or mineral water per part shrub, garnishing with sliced fresh fruit or herbs.

Combos to try:  strawberries and thyme is a favorite, basil and rose geranium work well together, so do fig, black pepper and lemon,  as well as peach, rosehip and rosemary.  Get creative!  Cheers!

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Making Bitters to Improve Digestion and Clear Heart Heat

MAKE BITTERS, FEEL BETTER, ENJOY!

preserves

Lemon and Artichoke Bitters

Peels of 1-2 lemons, including pith, coarsely chopped

Artichoke trimmings, 1/3 cup, coarsely chopped, these are the raw tops and outer leaves

Fennel seeds, 1/2 tsp or 2 TBS fresh chopped fronds

Fresh rosemary, 1-2 TBS, chopped

Juniper berries, 1/4 tsp, smashed

3 oz. 90 or 100 proof vodka or 151 rum

Superfine sugar or honey to taste, heaping TBS

Other bittering agents: dandelion root tincture, yellow dock tincture

Place the chopped produce and culinary herbs in a 1/2 pint jar, let steep 3 weeks. Strain and sweeten, can add other bittering agents to taste for more medicinal value. Store in a dark glass bottle with a dropper top.

You can also do this with handfuls of fresh herbs and flowers, like rose geranium leaves, lemon balm, lavender, jasmine flowers, nasturtium flowers, rosemary, pineapple mint, sage, any combo you’d like. Just stuff into a 1 pint jar and cover with vodka or 151 rum.  Steep 3 weeks, strain, sweeten with honey to taste.

Add the bitters to bubbly water and garnish with fresh herbs, like rose geranium, pineapple sage, mint, or rosemary.  Enjoy!