Between freelance work and recipe testing for Beyond Canning (PS: BEYOND CANNING COVER REVEAL COMING FRIDAY!!! Yay!), I made a lot of shrubs during the early part of this year. That, combined with a three-can-a-day grapefruit La Croix habit, has meant that it’s been a while since I’ve put together anything in the sweet/sour/fruity/ sparkling beverage territory.
Thanks to a hot tip from Meg over at the Joy of Cooking, I joined the Rancho Gordo Bean Club this year. It’s as fun as it sounds! In addition to getting a quarterly shipment of pretty Rancho Gordo beans, they throw in some non-bean treats each time, which recently included a little jar of the soft cinnamon known in Mexico as canela. Here’s a helpful cinnamon primer from Serious Eats that does a good job of explaining the flavor profile of canela. I’d agree with their assessment that canela packs a characteristic heat.
Because, like cranberries, it lends itself to both sweet and savory applications, I decided to put the two together here. To avoid having to put the final product through a super-fine strainer like a jelly bag, I did not grate the canela. Instead, I just crumbled it finely with my fingers. A good amount of heat comes through and the straining process is a bit more streamlined. Since the base of a cold-processed shrub syrup is made from the liquid that the sugar draws from the fruit, and cranberries aren’t particularly juicy, I added apples to the mix here to ensure that there was sufficient liquid. Their flavor doesn’t come across super-strong, mostly they provide a bit of sweetness.
Of course, like any other shrub syrup, you can mix this with fizzy water. I’m wanting to experiment with it in some bourbon cocktails as well. It’s pictured with hard cider here, which was delicious and tart!
Cranberry and Canela Shrub
1 ½ cups cranberries, chopped
1 large apple, cored and chopped
1 cup organic cane sugar
1 stick (about 4 inches long) canela, crumbled
1 cup apple cider vinegar
- Combine the cranberries, apple, sugar and canela in a half-gallon ball jar. The fruit will shrink down an amazing amount as it macerates, but starting out, it’s too much for a quart jar.
- Label, date, and refrigerate for 3-5 days to allow the fruit to release its juices.
- Pour the vinegar right into the jar and shake to it to help dissolve any remaining sugar.
- Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, pressing gently to help extract any liquid, but being careful not to force any fruit pulp through the strainer.
- Refrigerate the syrup until ready to use.