June 09, 2014

Strawberry-Tea Shrub




Ingredients:
1 lb whole strawberries
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tetley’s Black & Green blend tea bags
3 cups boiling water
1/4 cup liquid turbinado sugar


Directions:
Place the strawberries in a nonreactive container (like a glass jar) and cover with vinegar. If your strawberries are very large, you may need to add additonal vinegar to fully cover the berries. Refrigerate at least 3 days and up to 1 week.

The day before or at least 4 hours before you would like to make the shrub, place 2 teabags in a heat safe container (I used a quart jar) and pour in 3 cups of boiling water. Allow to seep 3 minutes. Remove the teabags and discard. Allow the tea to come to room temperature and then refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours.

Remove the fruit mixture from the refrigerator. Place a metal sieve over a bowl and mash the fruit with a potato masher until well mashed and nearly smooth. Whisk the mashed pulp through the sieve until only the pulp that absolutely will not be forced through the sieve is left. Discard the pulp.

Stir the tea into the vinegar mixture. Add liquid turbinado sugar. Serve until dissolved. Taste and add additional liquid sugar to taste, as needed. Pour the resulting liquid into a nonreactive container and refrigerate until ready to use. Serve ice cold, with or without ice.

Yield: about 1 1/2 quart (about 4-6 servings)




My thoughts:
Tetley invited me to create an iced tea drink using their new Black & Green tea (as one might guess, it is a mix of black and green tea leaves) to win a chance to go to England. To be a bit cheeky, I decided to make a drink that combines the English love of tea with my favorite American colonial drink, the shrub. Shrubs are an early, DIY version of soft drinks and are easily made at home by combining fruit and vinegar. There are several methods to making shrubs, but my favorite is made by marinating raw fruit which I think gives it a fresher flavor than shrubs made by cooking the fruit. It is best to use in-season, fresh strawberries for this shrub.

This is a little different than the shrub I made last year; the tea mellows the vinegar flavor and unlike traditional shrubs, you don't have to add water or club soda to serve, it is pre-mixed and ready to go! I made a small batch (no room in the fridge) but this recipe can be easily doubled or tripled or even quadrupled to make a drink for a crowd. It is a great introduction to shrubs for the vinegar drink-wary thanks to the addition of familiar iced tea. It is slightly bubbly thanks to the light fermentation of the berries as they soaked in the vinegar. As for the flavor, it almost like a brighter tasting, strawberry Arnold Palmer (or as we call lemonade-iced tea drinks in Baltimore, a half and half). Perfect for a hot summer day in Baltimore or London!


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