Summertime is busy. Minnesotans seem to pack in as much as humanly possible while the weather is nice. Our family has kept so busy that I actually had to block off a weekend to stay home and do some food preservation.
For the first time in nearly two decades, we were almost out of homemade garlic dill pickles in our pantry. I was hoping to get my hands on a half bushel of pickling cucumbers to can, but due to the droughts and hail damage local farms have gotten, pickling cucumbers aren’t as available as they normally are. Sadly I couldn’t get my hands on the cukes.
Things worked out though, because I was gifted nearly 200 pounds of Concord grapes from someone that impressively grew them in his urban backyard in Minneapolis.
Needless to say, we’ve been busy with grapes ever since. My family and I have spent hours and hours destemming grapes and turning them into juice. So far, we’ve canned over 5 gallons of delicious juice, as well as frozen a couple gallons. With the remaining, I intend to make jelly, bake with a bit and perhaps try some new experimental recipes. But one thing I made right away was a batch of grape shrub.
I had never had it before and was eager to try. It turned out absolutely delicious and that’s the recipe I’ll be sharing with you today.
Unlike my other shrub recipes, this one is a cooked recipe. The flavor of concord grapes gets so much more grapey after simmered, so I opted to make this quick shrub versus the normal no-heat shrubs I normally make.
Yield: 3 cups or so of finished shrub
- 2.5 cups fresh concord grapes
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
After syrup is made
- 1-2 cups apple cider vinegar (equal part to how much syrup is made)
Wash and destem grapes. Add grapes to a medium-sized saucepan and mash with a potato masher. Mix in sugar, cover and gently heat to a simmer. Simmer about 10 minutes until the grapes soften and cook, which will result in a gorgeous purple grape juice.
Remove from heat, allow the juice to cool to room temperature and strain the grape juice through a fine mesh sieve.
Measure the amount of grape juice you have and mix with an equal part of vinegar. Example: If you have 1.5 cups of grape juice, mix with 1.5 cups of vinegar.
Store in a clean, airtight jar and refrigerate. Enjoy your shrub within a few months for the best flavor.
For an even clearer shrub, you can run the grape juice through a coffee filter or jelly bag after you’ve strained it through the fine mesh sieve.
In place of white sugar, you can substitute brown sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup or other sugar alternative.
Try different vinegars for alternate shrub flavors.
Mix about 2 ounces of grape shrub with water or carbonated water. Serve over ice.
To find other shrub recipes written by Thurow, check out WECK Small-Batch Preserving.