*Fresh Nectarines and honey combine to make a syrup, infused with rosemary, in this sparkling, summery take on a shrub.
Of all the fruit trees, berry canes, and herbs that we found growing in our yard when we bought our house two years ago, I think the most surprising thing we stumbled upon was the nectarine tree. Peach trees we found a few of, and having admired and longed for many a peach tree in my lifetime, this was only a pleasant discovery. But nectarines?
I’d never seen a nectarine tree in my life (indeed, I doubt I ever gave mental note to the fact that nectarines even grew on trees) and here I was, looking at the biggest tree on the property, chock full of nectarines. I don’t think I’d eaten a nectarine since I’d been in middle school, maybe even before then. By high school, my stone fruit preferences had given way to peaches and nectarines and plums somehow just sort of fell to the wayside. I have a tendency to do that. Choose my favorite in a group of foods, deem it the only one worthwhile, and ignore those that didn’t make the cut. Of all my flaws in the culinary world, this may be the greatest. After a few years go by, I try some previously ignored food and quickly realize my error.
So it is with nectarines. Staring at billowy branches drenched with jewel-like clusters of orange and burgundy flecked orbs over the last few months has made me realize just what a beautiful and underappreciated fruit nectarines are.
So, to honor their return to my consciousness, I made them into my favorite drink of 2016: the shrub.
Initially, I thought that roasting the nectarines would bring out their sweetness, so I tried it. After the shrub was complete, I decided to make a non-roasted version to compare. Good thing I did, too. Turns out, roasting the nectarines did not make them any sweeter, but it did muddle the fresh sweetness already existent in the unaltered fruit.
The non-roasted version was so, SO lovely. The fresh nectarine had an almost floral flavor that was tangy and delicately sweet. It paired so nicely with the more robust rosemary and the apple cider vinegar just melded right in with the nectarine.
The recipe for this shrub takes about 4-5 days to complete, but if you are as impatient as I am, you can always cut the time down by a few days 😉 . I like to do one day for the fruit and honey to sit, and then one more for the vinegar to settle in. Not as mellow of a flavor as if you wait the full time, but good enough for an impatient adult/child such as I.
Photos continued after the recipe…
- 4 cups Nectarines (about 5 large nectarines), pits removed, thinly sliced
- 1 cup Raw Honey
- 1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary, roughly chopped (remove woody stem)
- ½ cup Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
- Sparkling Water
- Fresh Rosemary Sprigs, to garnish
- Nectarine Slices, to garnish
- Place the nectarines, rosemary, and honey in a large jar or seal-able container. Mash the nectarines and honey together using a muddler or wooden spoon. Cover with a lid. Place in the fridge and let sit for 2 days, shaking occasionally. After two days, pour the mixture into a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the solids to strain out the fruit syrup (alternatively, you can blend the whole mixture and then strain it through a sieve to get the most fruit and flavor out of it). Place the syrup back in a jar and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Place back in the fridge for another 3 days. Shake syrup before using.
- Mix 1 part syrup to 3 parts sparkling water and pour over ice. You may like more or less syrup, depending on your preferences
- Garnish glasses with nectarine slices and a sprig of rosemary.
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