Somehow we never get around to going blueberry picking until some point in September when late-season varieties are ripe, and when we do, between the kids, supercoolwife and I we end up with pounds and pounds of blueberries. Which means blueberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as various pies, muffins and buckles. And even then we still end up with way more than we can consume. Thus it becomes time to pull out the cider vinegar and make one of my favorite drink-additives: blueberry shrub.
A shrub is a sweet, flavored vinegar which you add to water or seltzer to make a refreshing drink. This was a typical drink in the 1900’s. Or so they say. You can make it with any fruit (raspberry shrub is delicious) and blueberries are specially amenable to “shrubbing”. So here’s a delicious recipe to try with your extra blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, pears and what not:
Take about a quart of blueberries and rinse them well, removing any overly mushy ones. Put them into a glass pitcher or ceramic bowl and pour over enough apple cider vinegar to cover the fruit. The better the vinegar, the better the drink, but any ol’ cider vinegar will work great. Mush up the fruit with a wooden spoon and cover tightly. Let it sit for 3-7 days on the counter, stirring it around once a day or so.
Pour the fruit mix onto a small saucepan, and add 1/2-1 cup of sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes and open all your windows because it’ll make a big vinegary stink.Take the boiled mix and filter it through a fine colander onto a bowl or small pitcher. Pour into sealable jars, bottle or whatever’s around. This will keep in the fridge for 2-3 months (though you’ll likely drink it before then).
To make a drink, take a tall glass and fill it with ice and bubbly seltzer. Then add 1-3 tablespoons of shrub (to taste) and stir. Now drink it!
I’ll leave it to my friend Doc Becca to come up with a blueberry shrub based cocktail.