What’s in Season writer Barbara Kobsar went to Brentwood to pick Suncrest peaches.
Mint & Stone Fruit Herbal Shrub
Recipe and photo by Anna Marie Beauchemin | East Bay Herbals
The shrub is a traditional beverage made with fresh fruit, honey (or sugar), and vinegar, which combine to create a uniquely zippy drink to enjoy during the hot summer months. It’s kid friendly and makes a great substitute for sugary soda or cocktails at a summer picnic or for relaxing at home.
Starting with a classic recipe featuring two of my favorite summer fruits—peaches and strawberries—I gave this shrub an herbal twist by adding two very cooling and calming medicinal herbs: lemon balm and mint. It you don’t have lemon balm, just double the amount of mint.
1 quart-size mason jar with a reusable plastic lid
6–8 ripe organic strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 or 2 ripe yellow peaches, sliced (skins on, pits discarded)
¼ cup fresh mint
¼ cup fresh lemon balm
1 cup high-quality apple cider vinegar (such as Braggs)
A splash of good-quality balsamic vinegar for depth of flavor (optional)
½–1 cup raw honey
Clean and sterilize a quart-size mason jar and set aside. Wash fruit and herbs well and pat dry.
Prepare the fruits by slicing them directly into the mason jar. If you slice the peaches on a cutting board, be sure to capture and add all the juice to the jar as well.
Roughly chop fresh herbs and add to the fruit in the jar. Using a muddler or other mashing tool, crush the fruit and herbs.
Add vinegar and honey to the jar, stir to combine, and cover with a plastic lid. Label with the date and ingredients and store in the fridge for
1 week, shaking every few days.
Once the mixture has fermented slightly, strain out solids and store remaining liquid in a clean mason jar with a plastic lid. You can store this shrub in the fridge for 1–2 weeks. As is the case with all fermented foods, use your best judgment when preparing, and if mold appears or scent becomes off in any way, discard and start over.
To serve: Add 1–2 tablespoons of your shrub mixture to a glass, top off with sparkling water, garnish with a fresh sprig of mint, and voilà!
Anna Marie Beauchemin is a trained herbalist, educator, and writer based in Martinez, California. She works throughout the SF Bay Area offering herbal consultations, workshops, and trainings. She loves writing about the intersection between the culinary and medicinal worlds, creating seasonally relevant herbal recipes. Learn more at eastbayherbals.com.