shrub it off

Harvest season is probably my favourite time of year – the one where we fall back into familiar rhythms, breathe in the crisp air as we bring in the last of nature’s garden offerings. Chard, kale, borage and basil to dehydrate for green powder and pestos. Squash for baking and soups. Grapes to freeze and flavour kombucha, which gives an amazing welch’s grape burst. Honestly, though, I actually had never quite found a simple way (I almost always take the path to least resistance when preserving) to process grapes that makes me swoon. Until this week when I discovered shrubs.


Shrubs are light blends of juice, vinegar, and sugar, poured over ice and topped off with sparkling water. To make our grape shrub, I first made juice by simmering our grape harvest and running it through the vintage mill. I was left with about 1 quart (4 cups) of juice and then did this:

// 1 qt juice

// 1/2 cup organic cane sugar

// 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

This mixture was poured into 250ml canning jars, labeled and popped in the fridge. I’ve read varying notes on expiration – that shrubs will last anywhere from a few months to a year when refrigerated.


Apple cider vinegar is such an amazing health food and I’m excited about this simple, tasty way to get more ACV into my diet to help my aching joints and for overall health. More on benefits of ACV by David Wolfe here and Wellness Mama here. Our shrub recipe was based on this one at Slow Food Seattle  – head over there for more history and recipe inspiration on shrubs!


  1. I just moved out the country and want to learn everything I can about preserving and growing. I was raised that way but spent about 50 years living in the city. Am in Seven Sisters Falls now and don’t even know where to start. (Just learned about fiddleheads (imagine eating that!) and have started my own garden. Having trouble working the earth here as it’s been packed for probably 30 years but getting there! Will be there on June 24th and looking forward to it.
    Keep up the good work. You’re appreciated!

    1. Hi Jan! I haven’t checked in here for a while and was so happy to find your comment. How is your garden doing now later in the season? Did you make it out to the fest? Thanks so much for connecting. Warmly, Kris

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