The Shrub (fruit & vinegar infusion)

Aceto balsamico, red and white wine vinegar

Aceto balsamico, red and white wine vinegar

By Cat, May 18,2016 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

I’d never heard of the ‘shrub’ beverage until I got a Learning Herbs newsletter (1) telling about this healthful beverage. Oh, I’ve heard of alcohol infusions – they are quite popular now – but had not thought about using vinegar instead. So as soon as local strawberries are ripe, I’m going to try the Dandelion and Strawberry Shrub recipe below. It uses balsamic vinegar (along with apple cider vinegar), which adds great flavor to the concoction, and works well with sweet fruit.

Vinegar provides lots of health benefits, but only if it is from a food source (not white vinegar which comes from petroleum). It improves insulin sensitivity, and can help with acid reflux. Yes, the latter is an oxymoron – ingesting acidic vinegar can reduce acid problems in the stomach.

See also: 1. Beverages menu; 2. How to Make a Fruit Shrub Syrup: The Kitchn blog: (2) and Serious Eats (3)

Dandelion and Strawberry Shrub

This recipe, with minor adaptations, is from Learning Herbs (1). It makes about 2 ½ cups of a “concentrated vinegared syrup that is used as a mixer in water, sparkling water, soda, or even cocktails” (1). Each beverage uses about 1 Tbsp of the syrup; one batch of the syrup will make about 40 each, 8 oz beverages.

It is important to  wash the dandelion roots thoroughly before chopping for use in this recipe. Learning Herbs (10 provides this method for washing:

“Submerge them in a bowl of water and agitate the water. This helps to remove the biggest clumps of dirt. The roots can then be rinsed under running water to remove any last vestiges of dirt.”

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • Shrub:
  • 2 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup fresh dandelion roots, chopped (or ¼ cup dried dandelion roots)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • ½ cup local honey (or more to taste)
  • To serve:
  • water, sparkling water, soda, or a cocktail
  • Equipment
  • quart glass wide-mouth Mason jar with non-reactive lid (plastic or glass); if using a metal lid, place a piece of parchment or waxed paper between the mixture in the far, and the lid (Vinegar will corrode a metal canning jar lid and destroy the drink)
  • wooden mallet or spoon


  1. Sterilize jar and lid in boiling water.
  2. Chop the strawberries. Add them to a sterilized quart jar. Using a wooden mallet or spoon, slightly crush the strawberries.
  3. Chop the dandelion roots; mince the ginger-root. Add these to the jar.
  4. Add the vinegars and honey. Stir well.
  5. Cover with the non-reactive lid.
  6.  Let this infuse for a week in the fridge, shaking it gently every day. Strain when done.
  7. Serve: Add 1-2 tablespoons of the shrub to 8 ounces of water, sparkling water, soda, or a cocktail. The drink should taste sour and sweet, with the aromatics of strawberries and a subtle zing of ginger.
  8. Store the shrub in the refrigerator in a jar with a non-reactive lid. It should last for 6 months.


  1. Learning Herbs: A Dandelion and Strawberry Shrub Recipe;, Copyright © 2016 LearningHerbs.
  2. The Kitchn blog:
  3. Serious Eats blog:


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