Wash, remove stems and chop into 1/4-inch pieces:
3 1/2 pounds quinces
Place in a large heavy saucepan with:
7 cups water...
We often talk of the lemons that life gives us and the lemonade we're supposed to make from them. That's all well and good, but often, life gives you other things. Like sugar snap peas or potatoes. What then?
What I do know is that when life gives you a $13 flat of dead-ripe local strawberries, you have no choice but to make jam. And shortcakes and strawberry rhubarb pie. But I also like to take advantage of a windfall by making something new to me.
I've been reading about shrubs for a year or so, and they slip in and out of my mind periodically. But it's always easier to make something when you already have the ingredients on hand. If you have to go through the process of making a list and running to the store, that's two strikes against you doing what you set out to do.
Thus, when I found myself in a position of strawberry wealth, I gladly set some aside for a shrub.
Shrubs are old-fashioned vinegar and fruit based drinks. Ideally, they're sweet enough to temper the tang of the vinegar, but sour enough to catch the back corners of your mouth. They can be added to water or sparkling water, cocktails, or even ice cream or shave ice. In essence, they're just really yummy flavoring syrups.
The best part is that shrubs are easy peasy and only have three ingredients--fruit, sugar, and vinegar. The hardest part is straining the shrub, and even that is pretty stone simple. To get a somewhat clearer shrub, I filtered mine through a coffee filter after removing the large chunks of fruit. But really, you don't need to do this. Simply strain it through a fine mesh strainer.
Combine in a medium bowl:
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 handful mint leaves
Using a potato masher or a wooden spoon, mash the berries so they release their juices. Stir until the sugar has mostly dissolved and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove the mixture to a saucepan and heat gently over medium-low heat. Do not bring to a simmer--you simply want to heat the mixture to coax the sugar to dissolve.
Strain the shrub through a fine mesh strainer. If desired, strain again through a coffee filter. Refrigerate.
Use to flavor water or sparkling water, make cocktails, or top ice cream or shave ice.