Peach Shrub — or a tale of forgotten frozen peaches

A better woman than I knows what is in her chest freezer.  Me, I mostly don’t, for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • My utter inability to follow the kind of dedicated labeling a chest freezer needs
  • The fact that I am forever shoving random bits of whatever in there, because I have an idea for later  — pureed asparagus butt ends because the world needs to know what to do with the butt ends of asparagus!
  • Although I can remember astonishing things that I need to remember, I tend to have a really bad memory for anything non-essential or look-upable or, apparently, findable by rummaging through the freezer.

And so it was this Spring that I found a random bag of about 10 or so peaches in the depths of the freezer.

It being nearly strawberry season, there is no reason for me to eat a frozen peach, although they were delicious last winter when braised in a brandy-brown sugar mix and served with pig candy and vanilla ice cream.  (Thank you Mikey Sheerin for that idea.)

What I did decide to do was make a shrub. According to the Slow Food website, Shrub was a colonial drink made from fruit, sugar and vinegar.  Its sweet and tart and if you mix a bit, say, a shot glass, with seltzer water, its pretty delicious.  If you dump in a jigger of dark rum, more so.

I found a few recipes for shrub on the interweb, including this one, this one and this one.  But they all involved cooking the mix and really, it seemed like it was going to be cleaner tasting without the cooking bit.  Here’s one I found that is uncooked, which seemed more up my alley.

Ultimately, what I did was mix together the frozen peaches, 2 cups sugar and 2 cups vinegar in a big jar.  I added a handful or so of black peppercorns and some star anise and a cinnamon stick.  When the peaches were defrosted, I pierced them pretty aggressively so they would macerate through and through. I covered the top with a couple layers of paper towel. And I let it sit on the counter for about three weeks.  Then I strained it and drank it pretty well diluted with seltzer.

It’s pretty damn refreshing. And, I am convinced, a health elixir, since apple cider vinegar is supposedly a miracle cure.

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