Hot, HOT Weekend – Time to Make “Shrub”

Although we did not break any records for extreme high temperatures, we had over 100 degree days on Saturday and Sunday. 
I did check NOAA’s historic weather extremes for the Harrisburg/Middletown region for July and the record they showed was July 3, 1966 for 107 degrees. 
Needless to say, with that heat we did not get too much done outside.   We did pick blackberries very early on Saturday morning – from 6:30 to 9:00 am – froze 30 lbs and made seedless pulp from the remaining 23 lbs.  We decided to freeze the pulp for future jam making when the weather is cooler!  Also kept out 2 quarts of berries for our first experimental batch of “shrub”.  Jeff scoured the Internet for blackberry shrub recipes, and decided to combine several ideas for our first attempt. 

Jeff’s Blackberry Shrub:

2 quarts freshly picked blackberries
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Blackberry Shrub Milkshake
(Lars drank most of it before
we could take a picture)

Cover berries with sugar and let stand in refrigerator for 24 hours.  Strain juice (squeezing berries) through small sieve.  Add lemon juice, mix and keep in tightly covered glass jar in the refrigerator. 

This batch turned out to be tart and very refreshing!  Add some of the shrub to seltzer water, sparking wine, ginger ale or mix with sherbet.  Great ingredient for a smoothie that needs a bit of a sour kick.  Can be added to all sorts of mixed drinks – as long as the cocktail can handle the acid from the lemon juice.  The best use we found this evening was to mix some with vanilla ice cream and a bit of milk for a milkshake – the berry flavor really came out – it was delicious! 

We are not sure yet how much this mixture will change flavor over time.  The recipes calling for vinegar rather than lemon juice said that the flavor would change.  The recipes calling for lemon juice did  not mention flavor changes (probably because it was utilized quickly).  We also found a huge disparity within all the recipes regarding the amount of sugar – 2 cups was definitely on the very low end for the amount of berries we used.