Fruit Shrubs Make Attractive Cocktails or Mocktails

Fruit Shrubs Make Attractive Cocktails or Mocktails

Fruit shrubs, a delicious vinegar-based syrup known as “drinking vinegars,” make attractive cocktails or mocktails for the holidays. They also make a unique hostess gift. Fruit Shrubs date back to ancient times. In the 15th century, Europe used shrubs as a medicinal tonic to help prevent scurvy.  Later in the 17th and 18th centuries, shrubs were used to make alcoholic punches that were popular in English pubs and later adapted by colonists who used an English technique of preserving fruits and vegetables in vinegar in the late summer or fall.  In the 19th century, the drink, which is simultaneously sweet and tart, was often spiked with brandy or rum.

Shrubs are easy to create, requiring only three ingredients; fruit, sugar, and vinegar. As a DIY project, shrubs are a unique holiday gift and can be combined with almost any favorite alcohol, champagne, or seltzer water.  Simply tie a beautiful colored recyclable ribbon or bow along with the recipe and maybe even a book on shrubs.  Feel free to follow the recipes below or create new ones by experimenting. Michael Dietschs’ book Shrubs An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times is an excellent resource for making shrubs

The three recipes below are from the Mother Earth Living Nov./Dec.2016 magazine, Drinking Shrubs.

If you prefer to purchase your shrubs, Tait Farm Foods make delicious ones.

Apple Rosemary Shrub

Ingredients:

  • Apple Rosemary Shrub
  • Ingredients:
  • 3 medium apples, washed, cored, and thinly sliced
  • Large sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Approximately 1/2 to 1 1/2 cups organic apple cider vinegar
Apple Orchard
Instructions:
  1. Put apples in a nonreactive (Stainless steel, ceramic, glass, and metal cookware) container with rosemary. Add sugar and honey, and stir gently to coat the fruit. Cover the container with a clean dishtowel and allow it to sit on the counter for three days.
  2. Strain syrup into a measuring cup, and discard solids. (Don’t throw those solids away, save them for topping ice cream or use in cobblers.) Combine syrup with an equal amount of apple cider vinegar.
  3. Pour mixture into a sterilized, narrow-neck jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Gingered Cranberry Shrub

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh cranberries, washed and picked clean of any soft or discolored berries
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Approximately 1/2 to 1 1/2 cups organic champagne vinegar
Apple Orchard
Instructions:
  1. Combine cranberries, ginger, lemon zest, and sugar in a nonreactive container, mashing cranberries or pulsing gently with a blender and stirring to coat everything evenly. Cover with a clean dish towel and allow to sit on the counter for three days.  Stir daily.
  2. Strain syrup into a measuring cup, and discard solids.  Combine syrup with an equal amount of champagne vinegar.
  3. Pour mixture into a sterilized, narrow-neck jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Cardamom Pear Shrub

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium ripe pears, washed, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 2 whole green cardamom pods
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • Approximately 1/2 to 1 1/2 cups organic apple cider vinegar
  • Splash of aged balsamic vinegar
Apple Orchard
Instructions:
  1. Put pears in a nonreactive container with cardamom pods.  Add sugar and stir gently to coat the fruit. Cover the container with a clean dish towel and allow it to sit on the counter for three days.  Stir daily.
  2. Strain syrup into a measuring cup, and discard solids. (Don’t throw those solids away, save them for topping ice cream or use in cobblers.) Combine syrup with an equal amount of apple cider vinegar and a splash of aged balsamic vinegar.
  3. Pour mixture into a sterilized, narrow-neck jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Chef Yvonne Dwyer

Recipe compliments of OPL Naturalist and Home Chef Yvonne Dwyer

OPL Plant-rich Recipes

Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

Lots of Pepper Jam

Lots of Pepper Jam

We love this pepper jam. It is so adaptable! Mix it with greek yogurt or sour cream and serve with chips, or pour over a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers as an appetizer. 

GREAT GIFT IDEA:   Pair Pepper Jam with a small decorative dish, cheese spreader, and crackers.

Recipe from Gifts from the Harvest, Homemade Jams and Jellies from the makers of Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin and Certo Liquid Fruit Pectin

Serves: Makes approximately 6 one-cup jars

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups prepared peppers (3 medium red peppers, 2 medium green peppers, and 10 large jalapeno peppers)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cups sugar 
  • 1 box Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin
  • 1/2 tsp butter
Apple Orchard
Instructions:
  1. Stem and halve red peppers; discard seeds. Finely chop or grind peppers. Measure 2 cups into a 6 or 8-quart saucepot. Stem and halve green peppers; discard seeds. Finely chop or grind. Measure 1 cup into the saucepot. Stem and halve jalapeno peppers (be sure to wear rubber gloves to avoid the burn from capsaicin); discard seeds. Finely chop or grind. Measure 1 cup into the saucepot. Stir in vinegar.
  2. Prepare jars (see note). Keep the lids hot until ready to fill jars.
  3. Measure sugar into a separate bowl. Stir in fruit pectin into peppers in the saucepot. Add butter. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Quickly stir in all the sugar. Return to a full rolling boil and boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with a metal spoon.
  4. Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. *Invert jars for 5 minutes, then turn upright. Cool for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, then shake jars to distribute peppers evenly throughout the relish. After the jars are cooled completely, check the seals.

*Or follow the water bath method recommended by USDA.

Note: Preparing the Jars

Wash jars, lids, and bands thoroughly before you begin so they will be ready when the jam is ready to pour. Place flat lids in a saucepan. Pour boiling water over the lids. Let stand in hot water until ready to fill jars. The hot water will soften the rubber and help to create a seal. Always use new, flat jar lids, as they should not be reused. Drain jars and lids from the water well before filling them with jam.

Chef Yvonne Dwyer

Recipe compliments of OPL Naturalist and Home Chef Yvonne Dwyer

OPL Plant-rich Recipes

Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

Vintage Homestyle Sweet Corn Pancakes Recipe

Vintage Homestyle Sweet Corn Pancakes Recipe

One summer many years ago, a relative asked if I had ever tried sweet corn pancakes. I hadn’t, and decided to look for a recipe. While I found recipes for corn fritters, I didn’t find any recipes for sweet corn pancakes, so I adapted this recipe from an old cookbook, updating it by using coconut oil, oat flour, brown sugar, and unsweetened almond milk. It is now one of my favorite corn recipes, with or without my favorite local honey or maple syrup. These pancakes can also be savory, making them perfect for picnics, hikes, or simply an afternoon treat.

Adapted from: The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook 1980 Edition by Zoe Coulson

Serves: Approximately 12 – 4 inch pancakes

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 – 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted, plus slightly more for lightly greasing your skillet or griddle
  • 1 – 1/2 cup sweet corn cut from the cob
  • butter 
  • maple syrup or honey



Apple Orchard
Instructions:
  1. In a large bowl, mix the first 4 ingredients. In a small bowl, beat the egg for 30 seconds, then stir in the almond milk and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Add to the flour mixture and stir until the flour is moistened.
  2. Heat skillet or griddle over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles. Brush lightly with coconut oil.
  3. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot skillet or griddle, making a few pancakes at a time.
  4. Cook until bubbles burst and edges look dry, approximately 90 seconds. With a spatula, turn and cook until the underside is golden, about 90 seconds.
  5. Place on a heated platter, and keep warm. Brush skillet with more coconut oil, if needed, before starting on the next batch. Serve with butter and maple syrup or honey.

For a savory variation: 

Add 1/4 cup cilantro, basil, or parsley, 1/2 tsp sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper, and 2 scallions, green and white, finely chopped.

 

Chef Yvonne Dwyer

Recipe compliments of OPL Naturalist and Home Chef Yvonne Dwyer

OPL Plant-rich Recipes

Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

Autumn’s Spectacular Applesauce

Autumn’s Spectacular Applesauce

The autumn season not only encompasses beautifully colored leaf foliage in the Northeast and other areas around the country but a change of appetite for pumpkins, Concord grapes, apples, and a variety of squash. The sorts of autumn fruits are numerous, and the types of apples are broad. One of our family’s favorites is the Honey Crisp. The apple is crisp, slightly tart, and sweet. It incorporates so well in the apple recipes we love including applesauce, apple cake, and dried apples. 

Ingredients:
  • 10 medium-sized Honeycrisp apples (you can substitute or mix your favorite apple)
  • 1 cup of filtered water
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice 
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
Instructions:
  1. Wash, peel, and core apples.
  2. Cut each apple into quarters and cut those quarters into thirds. 
  3. In a 3-quart saucepan, add water and fresh lemon juice. 
  4. Cool until soft on medium-high heat, occasionally stirring, for approximately 15-20 minutes. 
  5. Cool completely. Remove the cinnamon stick if using. The recipe makes about 32 ounces. 
  6. Preserve in your freezer-safe containers packing applesauce in 1 – 2 cup increments. 
  7. Label, seal, and freeze. 
Apple Orchard

Note – I did not add sugar; however, if you prefer your applesauce to be sweet, start with 1/4 cup of sugar or honey when cooking the apples. 

Chef Yvonne Dwyer

Recipe compliments of OPL Naturalist and Home Chef Yvonne Dwyer

OPL Plant-rich Recipes

Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

Apple Buckle is the Perfect Fall Coffee Cake

Apple Buckle is the Perfect Fall Coffee Cake

If you are looking for a delicious fall coffee cake filled with fresh apples, look no further. Apple Buckle pairs perfectly with morning coffee, an afternoon cup of tea, or a picnic treat.

Makes 6 – 8 servings

Ingredients:

Streusel Topping

  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp unbleached flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsps softened butter

Cake

  • 3 tbsps softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (you can grind your oats into oat flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Oriental Five Spices (optional)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/4 cup Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored, and diced mixed with 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Apple Orchard
Instructions:
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Combine ingredients for the streusel topping in a small bowl till it is a crumbly mixture. Set aside.
  • Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla in a medium to large mixing bowl. Beat in one egg for about a minute or two.  
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
  • Add dry ingredients into the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk.
  • Fold in apples with lemon juice.
  • Add cake mixture to an 8″ square buttered baking pan or in place of butter; line the baking pan with unbleached compostable parchment paper. Top with streusel topping.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester poked in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Note: You may substitute Honey Crisp apples with McIntosh, Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji, or a combination of your favorite crisp, firm, juicy apples.

    Chef Yvonne Dwyer

    Recipe compliments of OPL Naturalist and Home Chef Yvonne Dwyer

    OPL Plant-rich Recipes

    Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

    Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

    Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

    Depending on the seasonality of the year, there are several fruits that you can substitute in this Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble recipe. This strawberry and rhubarb crumble is a family favorite this time of year. Served warm with vanilla ice cream or frozen vanilla yogurt is simply delicious.

    Preparation time: 20 minutes

    Baking time: 30 – 35 minutes

    Ingredients:

     

    • 3/4 cup (100g) rolled oats
    • 3/4 cup (125g) white whole wheat flour
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
    • 1/2 cup (100g) packed brown sugar
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 6 Tbsp (85g) unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 1/2 cups unpeeled rhubarb, less than 2 stalks, rinsed and dried
    • 1 1/2 cups washed, hulled, and diced strawberries
    • 1/4 cup sugar (55g)
    • 1Tbsp lemon juice
    • 2 tsp water
    • 2 tsp cornstarch
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    Butternut Squash
    Carrots-Celery-Onion
    Instructions:
    • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (180 C) and grease an 8 by an 8-inch square baking pan.
    • Place oats, flour, coconut, brown sugar, and salt. In a bowl and mix.
    • Add the melted butter and stir until it is lumpy. Add a touch more flour if the mixture looks too wet.
    • Put 1/3 of the crumble mixture aside.
    • Put the rest of the crumble mixture into the prepared baking pan and press down evenly.
    • In a 2-quart pan, add the rhubarb, strawberries, granulated sugar, lemon juice, ginger, cornstarch, and 2 teaspoons of water and mix well. Cook. Uncovered on medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
    • Spread the fruit onto the prepared crumble base.
    • Sprinkle the reserved crumble mixture over the warm fruit and bake for 30-35 minutes.
    • Cut into squares, serve warm with frozen custard, or cool completely, and serve as a snack.
    • Store leftovers in the refrigerator in a reusable container.

    Chef Yvonne Dwyer

    Recipe compliments of OPL Naturalist and Home Chef Yvonne Dwyer

    OPL Plant-rich Recipes

    Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

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