Rhubarb shrub is easy to make with just 3 ingredients. It is raw and adds enzymes, probiotics, antioxidants, and electrolytes to summer drinks and cocktails.
When the rhubarb is abundant, make this rhubarb shrub from raw rhubarb. Use it to make an electrolyte and probiotic rich, cold beverage to quench summer thirsts. No cooking required.
After a working in the garden or hauling hay, this rhubarb shrub hits the spot and gives you the energy you need to keep going. Shrub is a concentrate that you add to fizzy water or plain water. You can also use it as a cocktail mixer. Made with raw fruit and apple cider vinegar it also adds an abundance of enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics to aid digestion and reenergize you when summer fatique hits.
12 cups of rhubarb makes 2 quarts of shrub. You’ll just use 2 tablespoons of shrub, 1 ounce, per 12 ounce glass. Pour it over ice. Top up with water or soda water. Drink freely. The flavor is rhubarb — sweet and tart, with a little heat from the ginger, but not overpowering.
To make this begin with fresh rhubarb from the garden. Remove the leaves. Wash the rhubarb and cut off the ends on either side, and discard. Slice the rhubarb thinly to expose as much surface area as possible. I aim for 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces.
Peel the ginger using the edge of a spoon. The papery peel will come off easily. Slice the ginger thinly. You’ll need about 2 inches of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced for each quart jar.
I use Bragg’s apple cider vinegar for this recipe but you can use any brand of raw, apple cider vinegar, that includes the mother. The vinegar is added after the rhubarb syrup is strained, at the end of the preparation time.
The redder your rhubarb, the pinker your shrub will end up. The red in rhubarb come from betalains (1) rather than anthocyanins: up to 2000 mg per kilogram. It is antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. Since it’s water soluble these transfer to your rhubarb shrub. Learn about the different rhubarb varieties here.
Rhubarb is also rich in potassium, maganese, folate, calcium, and vitamins C and K. When used raw, as in this shrub recipe, it also adds enzymes that help with digestion and appetite. Rhubarb is gaining a reputation as a superfood.
…rich in salicylates and contains up to 2000 mg/kg anthocyanins. [sic] The leaves are poisonous due to high levels of oxalic acid which are not present in the edible stem. Several stilbenes have been isolated from rhubarb including trans-resveratrol, which is a strong anti-cancer agent, and piceatannol and rhapontigenin. (Plant Secondary Metabolites, Crozier et als. p. 248)
- Prep Time: 15 minutes + 4 days waiting
- Total Time: 35 minute
- Yield: 2 quarts 1x
- Category: Beverages
- Cuisine: Raw
Thirst quenching and rich in electolytes, shrubs are old fashioned drinks that are coming back in vogue. This rhubarb shrub uses raw rhubarb. The redder your rhubarb, the rosier your shrub will be.
- 12 cups rhubarb, chopped
- 3 cups sugar
- 6 inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced.
- 4 cups apple cider vinegar
Prepare the rhubarb stalks by washing, and chopping into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces. Place in 3 quart mason jars. Add 1 cup of sugar to each Mason jar. Divide the ginger pieces between the three jars.
Cap tightly and shake to evenly distribute the sugar.
Place in the fridge. Shake daily to dissolve the sugar and distribute it evenly through the rhubarb.
After 4 days, strain the rhubarb syrup from the fruit. The spent fruit can be eaten as is, used in cooking, or added to baking. Reserve the syrup for the shrub recipe.
In a clean, sanitized jar, add the 2 cups of the reserved syrup and 2 cups of raw, apple cider vinegar. Repeat with the remaining syrup, adding an equal amount of raw, apple cider vinegar to the amount of remaining syrup.
Store in the refrigerator. Will keep for year. The acid of the vinegar prevents spoilage. Do not can this as heat will destroy the enzymes that aid digestion.
Add 2 tablespoons to a glass. Add ice. Top up glass with soda water or plain water. Add a straw. Drink freely.
To use as a drink mixer:
Add rhubarb shrub to any cocktail that calls for simple syrup, substituting the shrub for the syrup and citrus juice called for in the recipe.
I like to add the leftover rhubarb fruit from this recipe to savory meat dishes. Add it to roast chicken, roast beef or fish. Pour it over the raw meat. Add onions and garlic to the pan. Bake at 375F for 45 minutes, or as long as it takes to cook the meat through. Stir it half way through the cooking time and baste the meat with the juices. Serve the meat with the rhubarb sauce. It adds a nice sweet and sour flavor.
Keywords: Shrub, drinking vinegar
The ginger in this recipe, aids digestion and helps with the nausea that sometimes comes with high heat, allowing you to replenish the lost electrolytes quickly. While you could leave it out, without it affecting the keeping quality of this recipe, I like it for it’s digestive and medicinal benefits. Anytime I can get herbs into my family, I’ll take it.
Make this easy shrub today and you’ll have it ready to drink this weekend.
Making drinking vinegars with all the summer fruit
Rhubarb is just one of the fruits of summer you can transform into drinking vinegars, drink mixers, and shrubs. Other fruits can be successfully used in the same techniques. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, apricots will all transform into healthy drink concentrates with the addition of sugar and vinegar. When preserved this way, these drink mixers will keep for months in the fridge. Always use clean, sanitized containers, lids, and rings when bottling drinking vinegar for long term storage.
Other ways to use rhubarb this summer
- Rhubarb popsicles
- Rhubarb pickles
- Rhubarb square
- Rhubarb bundt cake (coming soon)
Check out my new class
Learn more about making healthy and nutritious shrubs, vinegar drinks, ice pops, sherbet, botanical drinks, herbal tea, fruity lemonades, liqueurs, and bistro drinks healthier at home using wholesome ingredients, less sugar, and more fun. My new class Inspiring Botanical Drinks will help you turn your garden produce and easy to find ingredients into beautiful beverages and frozen desserts easily.
Break the pop and sweet tea habit with these healthier options. You’ll save money, reduce food waste, and enjoy delicious and nutritious hot and cold drinks year-round when you use herbs, garden fruit and berries, and even weeds to make healthy tea, drinks, and beverage syrups.
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