Rhubarb shrub – simple to make, lightly fermented, healthy, a great way to preserve seasonal fruit and, most importantly in these trying times, goes well with gin.
Well, here we all are guys – and how much has our world and our lives changed since my last post! There’s an old curse that says “may you live in interesting times”, and it doesn’t get more interesting than this. Covid 19 has changed everything. I’m not sure there is a place for the trivialities of food blogging in a world in the grips of such a crisis. I’m not sure if anyone will be reading them and I’m equally unsure if I can string together anything coherent to say – like everyone else, my anxiety levels are high and my brain is jangled.
One thing I do know, is that my heart aches – for all those in the hospitality industry who have lost jobs, dreams and livelihoods. For those who have built businesses that are now crumbling. For young people just embarking on their careers and lives. For all those who are stuck at home in less than ideal circumstances – alone with no company, with violent partners, with family members with mental health issues, with a tribe of bored, agitated young kids, or young children with parents whose parenting game is not strong. And for those who lack the resources – emotional, financial, intellectual, that we will all need to get through what may well be months of social isolation.
We all need to support each other through this, so don’t be afraid to reach out – virtually, or from a responsible distance – to those in your community who may be doing it tough. Call, email, Skype, Zoom or send up bloody smoke signals. Just do whatever it takes to stay connected, because we’re all in this together and we will need each other to make sure we get through to the other side.
Whatever the hell that may look like.
There’s going to be a lot of comfort food coming out of my kitchen and I’m trying to lift my fermentation game, as I figure a healthy gut is a good start in keeping our bodies strong and well. With yeast hard to find, I’ve already fed up my sourdough starter so that we can enjoy fresh, home-baked bread, although anyone can just as quickly turn out a fabulous yeasted loaf, and I recently discovered the joys of a delicious rhubarb shrub.
The use of vinegared syrups has a long history that dates back to ancient times, when they were added to water to make it safer to drink.
Fruit shrubs are a simple way to diversify your use of seasonal fruit, and to preserve it for later. They are lightly fermented, so good for your gut and, in the case of rhubarb shrub, go brilliantly with gin – and really, the latter makes them just about perfect as far as I’m concerned.
Give my recipe a try, with rhubarb or some of the other late summer/autumn fruits.
And wash your damn hands!
- 2 cups rhubarb, finely diced
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- Combine rhubarb and sugar in a bowl, mix well and cover.
- Place it in the fridge, taking it out to stir well twice a day, for three days.
- After three days, strain the fruit over a clean bowl, pressing firmly to release as much syrup as possible. Discard rhubarb.
- Add vinegar to the syrup, mix well, and pour into a clean, sterilised bottle.
- Refrigerate for one week, before using.