This SHED shrub recipe shows you how to concoct your own colorful elixir.
A Colonial-era beverage devised to stem waste and refresh field workers, shrubs are seasonally-based drinking vinegars made from fresh fruit, sugar, and aromatics.
We like shrubs because they are an easy and fast way to preserve the season and capture fruit at the height of flavor.
While we’re busy harvesting plenty of plums (and pluots) out at HomeFarm, we recommend any of the sweet, juicy varieties such as Elephant Heart plum, Catalina plum, or Flavor Grenade pluot to use in this summer shrub.
These succulent plums pair well with shiso leaves, an easy-to-grow herb in the mint family that is usually planted in the spring and harvested in summer and fall. Also called Japanese basil, shiso occurs in both red-leaved and green forms. Red shiso is used for coloring the pickled plum, umeboshi.
Plum Shiso Shrub
2 cups chopped red plums (or pluots), tightly packed
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups (unseasoned) rice wine vinegar
10 red shiso leaves (substitute fresh purple basil)
Core and chop the plums and combine with salt and sugar in a non-reactive bowl, jar, or crock. Cover vessel and macerate the fruit mixture at room temperature for three days, stirring gently twice a day.
After three days add the vinegar and shiso leaves and refrigerate for two weeks. Strain and pour the cordial like syrup into a glass bottle or jar with a lid or cork.
Plum shrub syrup can be added to sparkling water for a refreshing, gorgeous pink drink. Add two tablespoons of shrub syrup and ice to a glass, top with six ounces of sparkling water, and garnish with a shiso leaf.
Plum shrub syrup is also delicious stirred with cold sake (Japanese rice wine) and a slice of fresh cucumber. Enjoy!
This syrup will keep at room temperature for about a week and will last six months under refrigeration.