A shrub, also called a drinking vinegar is a type of syrup made to add to drinks and cocktails. If you haven’t tried one yet I suggest you do! Don’t be scared off by the addition of vinegar, it makes for a complex taste that brings out the true fresh flavours of your ingredients. This shrub is like summer in a jar, Strawberries and nootka roses grow at the beginning of summer marking the summer solstice, making this shrub the perfect addition to a solstice celebration whether it’s in a cocktail or served with some fizzy water.Jump to Recipe
Wild Roses grow all over the place here in the Pacific Northwest, specifically (but not only) the Nootka Rose which is native to the area and named after the Nootka sound where it was first recorded.
It grows between a half meter to 3 meters tall and produce a lovely light pink flower with five big petals and a powerful but not overwhelming rose scent. Our coastal beaches are covered in them from May to July. They produce bountiful orangy red rose hips in the fall which I am excited to use as well.
If you don’t live in the Pacific Northwest any wild rose will work, many are similar including the Woods rose which grows wild in the interior and looks very much like the Nootka rose.
Foraging for Nootka Rose
Foraging for wild roses is easy as long as you are not afraid of thorns or bees. Just gently remove the petals from the center of the rose and leave the rest behind. Chances are if they are big and open they are close to dropping their petals anyway and they will come away easily.
All rose petals are edible so mixing up the species is not a big deal.
Wash gently in a bowl of cold water to remove any debris or bugs that might have hitched a ride.
It is also strawberry season here on the coast, these beautiful red gems are popping up in all the farmers markets and even large grocery stores like save on foods have a display of local strawberries from the farm down the road. Local strawberries might be more expensive ( although not always) but in my opinion its worth it.
Local foods, fruit and veggies, are allowed to ripen on the plant before being picked rather than commercial ones that have to be picked early in order to make the long journey from all around the world to the grocery store. I am grateful for the extreme accessibility of our grocery stores allowing us strawberries all year long. However, locally grown strawberries that mark the beginning of summer are a very special thing.
Strawberry season also signifies something else very exciting! It’s the beginning of canning season!! WooHoo!
Anyway! You can use any strawberries for this recipe but I suggest those beautiful and sweet locally grown ones for the most iconic strawberry flavour. In a recipe that has very few ingredients the quality really counts.
Apple Cider Vinegar
A shrub can be made with all kinds of vinegar but my favorite is apple cider vinegar. I read once that it helps with seasonal allergies and I have no idea if it’s true but I feel good drinking it. It also has the added benefit of being easy to make yourself. I use this guide here from The Prairie Homestead.
When buying it from the store make sure to get a raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar for all that beneficial bacteria and yeast.
Making a Cold Process Shrub
There are several ways to make a shrub, it can be made using heat, or no heat and can even be fermented. For this recipe we are making a simple cold process shrub. I have found that as soon as you add heat and sugar to fruit it tastes like jam. Jam is tasty but I really don’t want to drink it. This strawberry and Nootka rose shrub benefits most from the cold process, it is the best way to preserve the flavours of the ingredients while they are fresh without altering them.
A cold process shrub uses no heat and just time. It does take longer having to steep for a day or two but that’s really not that bad.
How to make a cold process Strawberry and Nootka Rose ShrubJump to Recipe
- The first step is to prep the ingredients, the rose petals need to be washed gently in cold water. Fill up a large bowl of cold water and add the rose petals, gently swish them around with your hands. Then lay them out on a towel to remove excess water.
- Wash and prep the strawberries, dice the strawberries nice and small, about 1 cm cubed will do.
- Prepare the vinegar and sugar, add the sugar and vinegar to a mason jar, stir until the sugar is completely dissolved, this might take a while but just keep stirring.
- Add strawberries to 1L mason jar. Set aside a handful of them to use to weigh down the rose petals.
- Add in rose petals, measure them out by placing them in a measuring cup and pack them lightly to get them into the cup, don’t pack them in too hard.
- Add in the last of the strawberries to keep the petals weighed down.
- Pour the vinegar mixture overtop of your fruit, if there is any space left over add cold water. Make sure you only add enough to cover everything, you don’t want too much it’ll water down the syrup. I ended up adding about a half cup of water and the syrup in the end was perfect. The fruit will float a bit, just add water until if first starts to float then stop.
- Place in the fridge to let steep for 24 to 35 hours.* I left mine on the counter for 6 hours first then set it in the fridge for about 30 hours. I make mine in the evening so it is ready in the morning two days later.
- Strain and serve! Store in the fridge forever! Well maybe 3 months is safe, shrubs have a really long shelf life because they are just sugar and vinegar.
How to use your Strawberry and Nootka Rose shrub
A shrub is a drinking vinegar as I have said but it has a few different uses. They are used as a syrup to add to flavour drinks, both alcoholic and not. Simply poured over ice with some sparkling water is my favorite. You can add as much or as little of the shrub as you’d like. For this recipe I like a 1:6 ratio of sparkling water to shrub.
Shrubs also make nice salad dressings, a light drizzle goes a long way. Being a vinegar base they also make great marinades.
I am not generally a fan of floral flavours but roses are different. The rose flavour is strong enough that you know its there without being over whelming. The sweetness of the sugar and fruit and the tartness of vinegar completely even eachother out for a well balanced flavour.
Leave a comment below if you try it, or if you have plans too!
Strawberry and Nootka Rose Shrub
- Mason Jar
- 1 cup Raw Apple cider Vinegar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 pint diced strawberries about 2 cups unpacked
- 2 cups Nootka Rose petals gently packed
- water to cover ingredients
- Mix sugar into apple cider vinegar until fully dissolved, just keep stirring
- Dice strawberries nice and small, place in 1L mason jar, hold back some to place on top of petals
- Place washed rose petals into the jar on top of strawberries
- Add in remaining strawberries to hold down the rose petals
- Pour vinegar and sugar mixture into the jar
- Fill remaining space in the jar with cold water, just enough to cover the ingredients, they will float a bit so just add enough to where they start floating then stop.
Click HERE for another tasty shrub recipe using fresh and foraged ingredients.