Saturday, June 26, 2010

Seasonal Eating: Black Raspberries

I've found these growing all around the edge of our woods, and into the woods. I'm in love.

 I know, I know, I posted this picture yesterday too . . .

I've gotten about a pint each of the last two days, and I've found more tucked into the woods that I need to make a path to. I have no idea how long they produce, or how much they produce - I'd love to get enough for jam.

I had no idea what to do with what I had so far though.

First, I looked at this recipe: black raspberry muffins

Then, I found this recipe: raspberry hazelnut meringue

And while they both look absolutely delicious - they just weren't calling to me. So I checked a bunch of my cookbooks, which were very surprisingly sparse in the raspberry section - including my Cooking with Berries book. I was thinking about doing a raspberry vinegar, but many of the recipes called for more berries than I had - and I still wasn't sure if I wanted to use my precious berries that way either.

I finally settled on a raspberry shrub that I found in Pantry Gourmet. I kept coming back to that recipe, so I knew it must be The One.

A shrub, as a I found out, is an old style vinegar based drink. Yes, vinegar! Seems part of the reason for the vinegar was to prevent the drink from spoiling in warmer weather.

Most times, a shrub is made with quite a bit of sugar. Luckily the recipe I found calls for honey, which ok - is still like sugar - but seems a wee bit better, especially since I'm trying to cut out white/refined sugars and foods.

"Raspberry Shrub mixed with water is a pure, delicious drink for summer; and in a country where raspberries are abundant, it is good economy to make it answer instead of Port and Catalonia wine." 
~   The American Frugal Housewife by Lydia Maria Child, 1832

Raspberry Shrub
from The Pantry Gourmet by Jane Doerfer

" Use the raspberry liquid as a base for an old-fashioned raspberry cream soda. Add equal parts raspberry syrup and cream to a glass, fill it with seltzer water and stir. Taste the shrub and adjust amounts, or add 2 Tbs syrup to a glass of  seltzer."

1 quart raspberries (I, of course, used the black raspberries and had slightly under a quart)
2 cups water
1 cup honey (I used 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup white vinegar

Place the raspberries and 1 cup water in an enameled or stainless pan. Crush berries. Bring mixture to a boil, lower heat, and gently boil 5-10 minutes until berries release juices. Cool slightly.

Place berries in colander and let juices drip through, strain through a sieve or coffee filters (I just put them into a cheesecloth lined colander to begin with)  to remove any seeds and pulp.

Boil honey and remaining water for 10-15 minutes until light syrup is formed.

Stir raspberry juice and honey syrup together and boil for 1 or 2 minutes. Add vinegar and boil for 1 minute. Pour into hot, sterilized jar and seal.

Shrub will keep for several weeks in the fridge or for about 9 months in the freezer.

Recipe says it yields 3 1/4 cups - I got two jelly jars out of it 

I haven't made a drink out of it yet, as I need more seltzer. I did taste the syrup and it wasn't overly tart. I also planned on using it as a mixer for vodka, but this version looks interesting too - and I think I may try that shrub recipe next time: cocktailiana- raspberry-shrub.



♥Cari♥ said...

Those look yummy!!

Little Messy Missy said...

Yum! Thanks for sharing!!!