Canning Mastery Challenge – a drink for scofflaws and anarchists

This month, The Food Mastery Challenge was to make either jelly or a shrub. I thought about making jelly but decided against it because:

  • I have tons of jelly in my pantry
  • I make jelly all the time so it wouldn’t be much of a challenge
  • If I was going to make jelly, I would want to use something unique, and home grown like dandelion jelly but currently my property is covered with this white stuff:

The idea if a drinking vinegar or a shrub was just too weird to pass up.

An article in The Huffington Post defines a shrub as:

…basically a choose-your-own-adventure, no-rules type of recipe, perfect for scofflaws and anarchists.

Who can pass up a recipe like that!

I used the recipe for a Blueberry Ginger Shrub from The Food in Jars website as I had all the ingredients on hand.

Not a lot is needed for this recipe.


A shrub is based on a 1:1:1 ratio of fruit, sugar, and vinegar. Additional seasoning can be added to enhance the flavor of the fruit.

  • 1 cup blueberries, I used frozen berries from the depth of my freezer. Fresh is, of course, preferred.
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar – I used the cheap stuff that I had on hand. Using an unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with the mother, like the one made by Braggs, would improve the health benefits of this drink.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 inch piece of ginger grated


This has to be one of the easiest ways there is to preserve fruit.

In a 1 liter jar crush blueberries, add sugar and vinegar.

Grate in ginger.

Steep in the fridge for several days.


and store in the fridge for 6 months or so.  Add 1/3 cup of shrub syrup to 2/3 cup of water. Sparkling water is nice.

This certainly looks like a drink for a scofflaw.

The results:

I added 1/3 cup of shrub to 2/3 cup of sparking water (on sale at my store today – how convenient!). I have to admit I was skeptical. I caught a whiff of vinegar as soon as I put the glass to my lips. “That’s interesting,” I thought after my first sip. I continued sipping and my liking for this drink grew. I found that it was very refreshing and quenched my thirst.

The Man was not a fan. He took one whiff, said, “that’s disgusting,” and declined further involvement in my experiment.

I think this is one of those you either love it or you hate it drinks.

The Costs:

I have never seen a shrub for sale in a Canadian supermarket, and I know for sure that our little backwoods market does not sell them. Consequently, I cannot calculate how much money I would save by making my own shrubs instead of buying them.

Ingredient Cost (March 2017)
Blueberries: The price for this ingredient can range drastically from free to $9.00 for 600 grams of frozen berries. Mine were frozen after I picked them at a local u-pick place at $3.00 a pound.  $0.75
Apple Cider Vinegar: $5.78 per liter at my little grocery store  $1.46
Sugar: on sale this month for $4.99 for a 4kg (10 pound) bag  $0.25
2 inch piece of grated ginger $0.25

Total for 400ml


Total per serving


Will I do it again?

Definitely. The Man was not a fan but I did like it. I think that this drink has so much potential. I can’t wait to try out combinations using locally foraged fruits and berries.

Maybe something with thimble berries? Saskatoons? Huckleberries? The possibilities are endless.

And yes, you know this had to happen:

Go ahead – try a drinking vinegar. You may be pleasantly surprised.


  1. I like your idea. I might use apple cider vinegar. I love the concept. The nose may not like it. but I think it is such a healthy process. Apple cider vinegar (and other vinegars) Lowers blood sugar in diabetes…Nice!!! Your mix with the blueberries and ginger sounds brilliant! 💖💖💖


    1. It was pretty good. There is a recipe for a spiced cranberry one that I am dying to try:
      And then, I am thinking about a saskatoon/lemon balm combination for later this summer when everything is in season.
      I am fascinated by the claims that vinegar lower blood sugar. This would be a great and tasty way to help combat all the ills that come with high blood sugar.


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