Thursday, April 5, 2012

strawberry-balsamic shrub {beverage}

my childhood summers
had one constant
my grandparents
although maybe not the true reality
i remember
last day of school coincided
with their arrival
"the grandparents"
all 4 of them
(yes, both sets)

my grandma grace
oh how fitting that name was for this amazing woman
each and every summer night
wandered into the kitchen
pin curls in her hair
wearing a perfectly pressed house dress
served herself
a tablespoon of vinegar
with the flair
of pouring herself a night-cap

she passed a few years ago
well into her 90s
healthy as an ox
until the day she died
sturdy and strong
peaches and cream
wrinkle free

she ate
fresh food
all of her life
it was all that she could afford


i believe 
her nightly vinegar shooter
was her secret weapon


i like vinegar
i take mine moderated
in a shrub

a shrub marries
sweetness of fruit and sugar
with the 
acidity and brightness of vinegar
in a way that makes
that little shot every night

a shrub is typically meant to be mixed with soda water
it is great in cocktails too

strawberry-balsamic shrub
(printable recipe)
2 cups ripe strawberries-cleaned, hulled & sliced
1 tsp fennel pollen (optional)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
10 black peppercorns-slightly crushed
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
place strawberries, sugar, fennel pollen (if using) and peppercorns into a glass crock or wide mouth jar.  allow to sit for about an hour, then macerate to break up the strawberries. cover and allow to sit 24 hours. (i let mine sit at room temperature, but if you are concerned, it is okay to put in the fridge).   after 24 hours macerate the mixture again, aiming to crush the strawberries.  you can move onto the next step, or allow to sit another 24 hours at this point.  add to the mixture the balsamic vinegar and the cider vinegar and stir well.  allow this to sit 7-9 days at room temperature, stirring daily.  the sugar should eventually "melt" into the liquid.  it is important that you tend to the mixture daily.  after 7-9 days.  strain the mixture using a fine mesh strainer (if you don't mind a few bits in it) or a strainer with cheesecloth (if you do) and bottle for use.  for longer shelf life, i recommend storing in the refrigerator.


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