I may have gone a little overboard with the sweet cherries this year. When we went cherry picking on July 4th, we were told that we should pick as much as we’d want for the year that very day. Heavy rains the week before had caused all the Bings and some of the Rainiers to split, so the woman at the farm stand predicted that it would be the only weekend we could pick some good cherries. So of course, I did what any good canner does and panicked, thinking of all the potentially lost jars of jam and preserves, picking as many cherries as I could fit in my containers. I came away with nearly 19 pounds, most of which needed to be processed within 3 days or they would spoil. Uh, 19 pounds is a LOT of cherries. And probably way more than I ever needed for the year. Oops. So now my freezer is stocked full with cherries for smoothies, and my canning shelves are lined with cherry lime jam, cherry chipotle preserves and a sweet cherry butter. But possibly my favorite way that I preserved sweet cherries this year is this cherry ginger shrub. I first discovered the delight of cherry shrub at my favorite coffee shop. I was there for some work, and it felt too hot for coffee, even of the iced variety. So instead, I ordered the cherry shrub, a concoction of cherries, sugar and balsamic vinegar poured over sparkling water. It was so refreshing, in all its sweet-tart glory, and I was determined to make my own version at home. I’ve been sipping this with sparkling water throughout the day, but it would also be great in a rum or bourbon cocktail. Either way, take a big glass of shrub outside to read in the sun a bit – it is my ultimate way to relax lately!
I've been sipping this with sparkling water throughout the day, but it would also be great in a rum or bourbon cocktail. Either way, take a big glass of shrub outside to read in the sun a bit - it is my ultimate way to relax lately!
Adapted from Reclaiming Provincial.
- 2 cups sweet cherries, pitted and halved
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup cider vinegar
- Stir the cherries and sugar together in a large bowl, and allow to rest at room temperature for 1 hour. Mash the cherries with a pastry cutter or the back of a fork to break up the fruit and help the berries release their juices.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours. Mash up the cherries again, to break them up as much as possible.
- Stir in the vinegars, and transfer the shrub to a big glass jar. Store at room temperature for 4-5 days, shaking the jar a bit each day. Strain the shrub through a fine mesh strainer or a piece of cheesecloth, and transfer to a clean jar. Refrigerate until ready to use.