Essential Pittsburgh
2:53 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Preserving the Harvest with Shrubs

A shrub drink with raspberry and lime
A shrub drink with raspberry and lime
Credit Molly Sheridan / Flickr

With the growing season coming to a close and a surplus of fruits ready for harvest, there are some interesting ways to consume and preserve your rapidly ripening produce. Food and drink writer, Hal B. Klein suggests using shrubs to put overripe fruits to good use.

Shrubs are tangy drinks that let you preserve ripe fruits and vegetables with sweetened vinegar. The concept started in ancient Arabic culture as a way of preserving food before the advent of refrigeration. They were also popular in colonial American times.

The recent shrub trend began in the 1980s, when a Pennsylvania farmer needed a way to preserve excess berries.

According to Klein, one prepares the drink by crushing fruit, and mixing it with an equal part sugar. Let the mix sit in the fridge for a day or two, then strain off all the solids and add an equal part vinegar.

He says an easy way to get the ripe fruit for shrubs is to go to a farmers market and ask if they have “seconds,” overripe fruit which is often discounted.

Klein says one type of shrub that is going to be in prime season shortly is a tomato shrub. He’s also curious to try a pumpkin shrub, available in the coming season. While shrubs are a trend in cocktails, you can also enjoy them in a non-alcoholic form of Pittsburgh Seltzer.