Shrub, otherwise known as drinking vinegar, has been around for centuries. Romans and Babylonians mixed vinegar with water, and sailors in the 16th to 18th century drank it to fend off scurvy! Originally, this fermented drink was prized for both its health benefits and its ability to keep fruit flavors preserved before the advent of refrigeration. In colonial America, it was also a way to "purify" drinking water! Once soda pop came along, the popularity of shrubs declined, but in the past few years I can tell you in no uncertain terms: Shrubs are back! We are using them mixed with sparkling water, in cocktails, and even in salad dressings!
We make no health promises here, but here are some of the benefits of shrub/drinking vinegars:
- Lower blood sugar levels
- Antibacterial properties that can help fight the infection behind a sore throat and even acne -- some folks say it even helps with bad breath!
- Cancer protection: Vinegars are a rich source of polyphenols, compounds synthesized by plants to fight oxidative stress. According to 2006 research, consuming polyphenols enhances antioxidant protection and reduces cancer risk.
- Helps regulate your digestive system.
- Proponents claim apple cider vinegar helps restore alkalinity in the body, which can boost metabolism, strengthen immunity and slow the aging-process to give you clearer, wrinkle-free skin—but there’s no research to verify these claims.
We had a visit with Sarah Bourke, the founder of Sideyard Shrubs, a Santa Barbara based company who sources their fruit from some of our favorite local growers. Though most shrubs are a mix of vinegar, fruit, and sugar, Sideyard Shrubs forgoes the sugar entirely, letting the fruit sing on its own, mixed with raw organic apple vinegar. Sarah showed us several ways to use shrub, and we are excited to try them all!
3 tablespoons Sideyard Shrub (seasonal flavor of choice)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, shrubs, honey, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking until the dressing is emulsified.
Purchases of Shrubs from our #PantryforPeace donate 20% to World Central Kitchen!
Photos courtesy of Elli Lauren Photography