Shrub – Week 1 2023


Good morning, Cook-Offers! Week 1 of the Great Colonial Cook Off is finally here (we apologize for the delay)

As per tradition, the first week is a beverage! But not just any beverage, this week, we make Shrub.

Like a 17th Century Gatorade.

Shrub can refer to many things, but for today we will be thinking of shrub as an acid based beverage made with fruit juice. Some people use alcohol, some people use vinegar, some people use the fermented fruit as the base. The acid preserves the fruit juice, meaning it will keep much longer without the use of refrigeration.

During the 17th century, Shrub was a popular drink to be mixed with water on consumed on a hot summer day. We have found that our Shrub is a perfect cool-down after a long day in a hot kitchen. Oddly enough, kids love this stuff! All of our younger visitors have loved the flavours, and don’t seem to mind when we tell them its made of vinegar!

Which brings us back to this week’s dish. Many references to Shrub exist, but to make things a bit simpler for the first week, Lori found this recipe on Serious Eats and put our own spin on it using a few ingredients we had in the garden. Lori started with a mixed berry version, which was EXCELLENT but a bit expensive for our tastes. She then explored the Colony’s gardens for a different spin and came across our rhubarb patch. The rhubarb version is my personal favourite, it sweet and tangy and the rhubarb juice hides the vinegar very well. The final variation Lori made for this recipe was a clementine version, which would have been impossible during the 17th Century, but a really good treat when clementines go on sale. That said, the clementine Shrub tasted like Vitamin Water, so if that is up your alley, we recommend it!

This recipe takes a few days to make to ensure the fruit has enough time to press and ferment. We recommend starting a few days early!

Remember, add a photo of your Shrub to the comments of this week’s recipe post on the Colony of Avalon’s Facebook page for a chance to win weekly and grand prizes.

Up for grabs this week? a reproduction of a 17th Century English Tankard Mug. Perfect to sip your drinks from! Deadline for this week’s entries is 11:59 pm, Thursday, September 20, 2023. We gave everyone a bit of extra time this week because we were so late getting the recipe posted. We can’t wait to see what you’ve created!