4 cups large cube peeled peaches
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup white vinegar
handful of thyme leaves
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the fruit is a bit mashed up. Refrigerate 72 hours in a sealed, nonreactive container (like a glass jar or two; I used a quart jar and about 3/4 of a pint jar). Place a metal sieve over a bowl and mash the fruit with a potato masher until any large pieces are well mashed.
Whisk the mashed pulp through the sieve.
Discard (or eat! it is basically pickled peach pulp). Pour the resulting liquid back into the nonreactive container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Yield: about 1 quart
Shrubs are a great way to revisit our colonial past without the fear of the stockade, trampling horses, dysentery, cholera, yellow fever, outhouses, or lack of proper bathing.
Shrubs were sort of the soft drink of the colonial era. They were refreshing in the hot summer months and the vinegar helped preserve the drink so they didn’t need refrigeration, something difficult to come by at that time. (I do refrigerate mine because I like to drink it cold). There are various ways to make a shrub but this method resulted in the perfect sweet-tart shrub bursting with peach flavor. It also yields a surprising amount of shrub considering how many peaches are used and how little liquid. Honestly, it tasted peachier than the actual peaches (which were very flavorful) did. I think it is because they basically liquified in the vinegar during the long soak. At any rate, it is amazing.
To drink: add it to club soda or cold, still water (it is slightly fizzy itself). Historically, it was also drunk with dark rum.