There are many Health Tonics out there that benefit our health needs and are quite delicious! Shrubs are such a versatile drink and are wonderful for gift giving. I will include simple recipes in this write up. Food and Drink with intention are always at the top of my recipe desires. If it tastes good and is healthy, why not go that route? My family does not drink soda, and this can be an excellent substitute. Once you’ve fermented your favorite Shrub, you can add it to Sparkling Mineral water or if you are hosting a party, use it as a mixer in adult beverages and it’s easy to make Virgin Drinks for the kids to enjoy, too.
The health benefits of drinking Shrub are endless. It also depends what ingredients you add to the recipe for extra umpf! Kombucha and Kefirs take a little more work, than Shrubs. The fermentation takes two days, yet the prep is pretty simple and doesn’t require much effort once ingredients have been put together. It also lasts up to three months in the refrigerator, if it even lasts that long.
The simple rule of thumb is 1:1:1. (fruit, sweetener, vinegar). Of course, I like to use as much organic as possible. See the EWG guide for best choices in organic shopping. Fruit may be fresh or frozen. The sweetener has different tastes and benefits. I’d stick with raw, local, unpasteurized honey for the highest level of benefits, unless you are Vegan. Brown sugar has a distinct flavor and can mix well with certain ingredients and vinegars combined. White sugar will enhance the flavors and be most versatile. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) contributes several health benefits on it’s own, and is my vinegar of choice. I would avoid plain white vinegar. Other alternatives would be rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, or champagne vinegar. If you use balsamic, just a teaspoon will do with the rest being ACV or wine vinegar.
With a combination of ingredients, Shrub helps stimulate the appetite and enhances weight loss, stabilizes blood sugar~especially if eating a high carb meal, fights free radicals to help reduce aging, has probiotics which helps with digestion and gut health, promotes detox of the liver, maintains alkaline ph, lowers cholesterol, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, vitamin c, minerals, and so much more to help boost the immune system.
Depending on what’s in season and your favorite ingredients, you can get as creative as you like with combos. Adding in spices will also help with other health intentions you may desire. Cayenne helps with pain, psoriasis, digestion, weight loss, cancer, and circulation. Cinnamon helps inflammation, lavender can aid anxiety and stress, ginger helps with the gut and digestion, and turmeric aids all the above along with depression, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.
Below is a list of some of my favorites:
~lemon/fresh ginger/honey/ACV (*can give it a kick with cayenne)
~blackberries/brown sugar/red wine vinegar
~pear/honey/ACV/rice vinegar/parsley (if you drop the parsley, can cinnamon)
The pairings are endless and I am sure the seasons can help dictate ideas as well. Once you’ve measure the 1:1:1 ingredients and mixed them together, put in a glass jar with lid and set aside in a dark area for two days. Once the 48 hours is up, strain the mixture and can last up to 3 months in the refrigerator. I do not like to use any metal when I ferment, so a plastic strainer would be best. I like to create and cater to the needs of the moment for my family’s health. This Shrub syrup can be used to make the drinks I listed above, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, and also works well for making slushes or ice cones. If you like to make your own popsicles, this can also be an option. (adding whole fruit and edible flowers makes them beautiful, as well as yummy. Bottling this in pretty, recycled maple syrup jars offers a wonderful gift or party potluck item to share. Enjoy good health and good spirits together. Living healthy can be fun and delicious!