Sunday, July 7, 2013


Edible Wasatch 2013, photo by David Vogel
My brother, David Vogel, and his partner, Rachel Hodson, are the owners and editors of a magazine called Edible Wasatch. It’s about local food in Utah, but I can’t wait for it to arrive in my mailbox in Vermont each season. It’s always full of gorgeous photos, great articles, and interesting recipes.

Shrub is the name of a syrup made from fruit, sugar and vinegar. I found it in the summer 2013 issue of Edible Wasatch I just received. You can add a small amount of shrub to seltzer water to make tasty, homemade soda kids will love.

Teachers and parents: Try making shrub with your kids. With this activity, you can combine wellness, local food appreciation, culinary skills, and math. What could be better? Then reward yourself by using some of the kids’ leftover shrub to mix up a delicious summer cocktail.

Strawberries have been so perfect around here lately, I think I would make shrub with those. However, you can use any fresh, ripe berries or other fruits. I have raspberries growing at my house now, so I might combine those with some local strawberries.

Here’s the recipe, straight from Edible Wasatch:
Basic Shrub
One part fruit or berries
One part sugar
One part vinegar

Wash and cut up the fruit and put into a bowl or a jar large enough to contain all of your ingredients. Add the sugar and stir or mash it with the fruit until it’s evenly distributed. Cover with cheese cloth or a kitchen towel to protect it from fruit flies and leave it to macerate - at room temperature for a few hours or overnight - until the fruit has broken down and become juicy.

Add the vinegar to the fruit and sugar mixture - apple cider vinegar or any kind of wine vinegar, not distilled vinegar. Stir or shake until the sugar is completely dissolved. Strain off the liquid and discard the solids. Store your shrub in a bottle in the refrigerator and enjoy for up to a year.

See their original article and recipe here.

Ideas for teachers and parents
Let kids do all the work, including deciding which fruits or berries are in season and would work well, picking or buying those, making the shrub, and making the soda. They could even sell it in the neighborhood instead of lemonade and hand out the recipe to customers.

Here’s some math. Ask kids things like...
  • What does “part” mean in this recipe?
  • How do we know how much of an ingredient to use when “one part” is called for?
  • How is this measurement different than other kinds of measurements we’ve seen in recipes (teaspoons, cups, etc.)?
  • How should we decide how much shrub to make?
  • How much fruit, sugar, and vinegar would we need if we wanted to double the amount next time we make it?
  • What would we do if we wanted to try making shrub that was less sweet?
  • Have you ever seen another recipe that called for “parts”? How could you figure out how much you need for “parts” when you know the total amount of the recipe you desire?

Other possible questions
  • If we use a few teaspoons of shrub to make homemade soda, about how much sugar will one glass of soda contain?
  • How does our homemade soda compare to a commercial soda? Amount of sugar? Type of sugar? Other ingredients? Taste? Color? Cost? Environmental and economic impact?
  • What does “macerate” mean?
  • What other ways could we use shrub besides making soda?
  • Why can shrub stay in the fridge for so long without spoiling?
  • What questions do you have?