by Janine MacLachlan
Just in time for our nation’s red-white-and-blue holiday, I have a ruby-red bevvy suitable for flag waving.
And yes, it’s also good with vodka.
Delicious either way. It’s a fizzy drink made with strawberry shrub. The perfect homemade soda bursting with strawberry goodness. Leave out the vodka and it’s great for the entire family.
My path to berry devotion
A few weeks ago, I was so flattered to be interviewed on Iowa Public Radio about Farmers’ Markets of the Heartland, along with a few market directors from that state. Charity Nebbe, the host of Talk of Iowa, asked how I first fell in love with the farmers’ market.
In a word, strawberries. The flavor of ripe strawberries reminded me of childhood, and I’ve been creating recipes to enjoy them before they’re finished. I’d go on about my farmers’ market story but then you wouldn’t need to buy the book, although Amazon gives you a peek.
The luscious sweetness of strawberries is great in a shrub, the colonial method of using vinegar and sugar to preserve fruit. Well, my friends, it works for non-preserving, I-want-to-enjoy-something-this-afternoon too. So join me on the back porch for a soda, won’t you?
Strawberry shrub soda
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
Sparkling water for serving
Put a many strawberries as will fit into a two-cup sealable jar. Pour the sugar on top. Shake it and leave it on the counter until the berries macerate and exude their juices. The time will vary depending on the size and ripeness of your berries, but an hour or an afternoon should do it. Pour in the vinegar and give it another shake.
Because I tend to enjoy this right away rather than keeping it in a dark cupboard, I consider it ready. For sodas, strain the syrup, saving the berries for making your own fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt. Pour about 1/4 cup into a frosty glass and top with sparkling water.
Join me on my homemade soda kick
My friend Jill of Relish loves the idea of homemade sodas, because you contol the sugar. For me, I prefer and lighter flavor balanced with a little acid, such as these shrubs, or a simple syrup cut with a little citrus juice.
If you still have rhubarb, or maybe you froze some, here’s my rhubarb fizz. And here are some other shrub recipes to use later in the season, created with fruit from my Washington fruit grower friends at Sweet Preservation. And here’s my ginger ale.
More strawberry love
And here’s a link to a post about Judy Henry of Berry Patch Farm, one of my favorite farmers from the Des Moines Downtown Farmers’ Market, with links to a cabernet syrup and orange-spiked sabayon, both perfect for topping berries. Enjoy a spectacular Fourth!
If you enjoy this post, please consider subscribing to my newsletter, or my feed. And are we Facebook,Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest friends yet? Photo and recipe by Janine MacLachlan, The Rustic Kitchen, www. RusticKitchen.com. All rights reserved.