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    « The Last of the Seckel Pears, for now. | Main | Spiced Pickled Seckel Pears packed in pints. Try saying THAT three times! »
    Sunday
    Nov072010

    If you haven't tried Drinking Vinegar, you're missing out!

    Apple Drinking Vinegar, made with Gala apples, Dr Bronners Apple Cider Vinegar and sugar.

    People have been drinking vinegar throughout history. Sometimes they drink it straight, for it's many health benefits, but I have found that making "shrubs"*, as they are sometimes called, is a great way to preserve fruit and liven up your daily liquid intake at the same time.

    ~~~~~

    To make Drinking Vinegar, start with any kind of fruit -- preferably something fresh, organic and local.

    One Gala apple, one Golden Delicious apple and one pint of distilled white vinegar.


    Seed and  coarsely chop fruit, and add it to a quart jar.

     


      Mash fruit for a minute or so before adding the vinegar.



    Macerate the chopped fruit with any type of vinegar and let it sit at room temperature for about a week, stirring once per day.

     

    1.) Apple/White Vinegar.          2.) Apple/ACV                   3.) Pear/White Vinegar

    Experimenting with different types of vinegar, like distilled white vinegar, apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar can yield wildly varying results.(All good!)

    After you let it ferment, for at least a week, you strain the liquid into a saucepan and add some type of sweetener -- again -- you can get creative.

    Try using honey, raw sugar, and/or white sugar for starters.

    Day 7, pears + distilled white vinegar. I used unrefined sugar with this batch.


     After straining to separate the liquid from the solids, add approximately 1/2 cup of sugar to every 2 cups of  liquid and simmer for 5 minutes.


    Simmer gently, making sure you stir the mixture while the sugar is dissolving.

     

    Filter or not, depending on whether you want the finished product to be clear.

    Filtering is optional.

    The pears, for example, left behind a lot of sediment that would have made the Drinking Vinegar cloudy. Choosing to filter, or even filter twice, is purely a matter of esthetics.


    Try adding a few tablespoons to a glass with ice cubes and either soda or water for a really refreshing drink. Shrubs, as these zesty beverages were called by many, were well known in the eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries as great thirst quenchers, and were quite refreshing when battling summer heat.

    Try making a cocktail, by putting some ice in a glass, pouring in a few tablespoons of Drinking Vinegar, a shot of Vodka and then top the glass with club soda. Maybe a sprig of mint. Or a squeeze of lemon or lime too.  

    You'll discover that Drinking Vinegars can be simple or amazingly complex, and are a fun alternative to fruit juice, soda pop and cocktail mixers. One of these rainy days, brew up a batch or two for the holidays.

    Once filtered and in the refrigerator, the Drinking Vinegars keep practically forever. I have a feeling you'll enjoy 'em so much that you'll want to try making them with a variety of fruits, and keep a few bottles in the fridge all year 'round. I can hardly wait until my next bumper crop of raspberries....

     

     

    * Food Lovers Companion definintion of "shrub": Colonial-day shrubs were spiked with liquor (usually brandy or rum) but today these fruit juice, sugar and vinegar drinks are usually non-alcoholic. Shrubs are served over ice, with or without soda water.


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    Reader Comments (4)

    I've been looking for recipes for drinking vinegar recipes for a few days now. This is one of the better ones that I've found. However, some say that you should use unfiltered vinegar to get the proper bacteria to grow to properly ferment the concoction (similar to kombucha recipes, I would assume).
    Just wondering if people have tried this or noticed differences in the type of vinegars they've used?
    Also one article recommended letting it sit 6 months after bottling. I wasn't sure if that was a typo or if letting it sit allowed something else to happen.
    Thanks for the pictures, too. Truly helpful.

    February 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlsappa

    Somehow I missed your post! Sorry for the delay in answering you.

    I don't know about using unfiltered vinegar. I have only used filtered (white distilled, apple cider vinegar, and rice vinegar) but had great results. I bet the unfiltered would be even better! Like it would give it some extra "oomph".

    After I bottle it, I put it in the fridge, where it stays until I finish drinking it. It is delicious from the first day, through the last, no matter how long it sits. I don't think letting it sit for 6 months in the fridge would change it too much, because the refrigeration stops the fermentation for the most part.

    Glad you like the photos. I hope you make some soon. It's fun and easy and you can make so many different varieties.

    Maybe you already have?

    February 12, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

    So how much of different sweeteners do you recommend starting out with?

    Thanks

    May 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShawn

    Hi Shawn,

    I use about 1/2 cup white sugar for a every 2 cups of (strained) fermented fruit & vinegar mixture.
    You can really just experiment. It might sounds like a lot of sugar but you want it to be sort of like a syrup. Think of it as a concentrate that you mix with soda, much like you would any other bottled syrup, such as grenadine. A little bit should go a long way!

    I realize after looking at my blog post that the actual recipe isn't posted. My apologies! I need to fix that.

    Thank you for you interest ~

    Brook

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