The Science Behind Shrubs

The Science Behind Shrubs

Shrubs are fairly simple in their makeup. A combination of vinegar (preferably apple cider vinegar), fruit, vegetables, or herbs, and some sugar will give you a delicious shrub.

But what is it about these ingredients that give shrubs their delicious flavor and health benefits?

Apple cider vinegar has been known to have countless uses. From eating and drinking, to cleaning and revitalizing hair and skin, there are many people hopping on the ACV bandwagon. But how exactly is this vinegar made and why does it seem to have all these associated health benefits?

When making apple cider vinegar, the fruit itself will be what supplies the alcohol. Simply mix crushed apples, or just apple peels and the cores to water and let it sit in a jar (only loosely covered) for about 2 weeks, discard the apple scraps and let sit for another 2 weeks. Now you may be wondering, how can just apple peels and water create vinegar?

The three ingredients to making a vinegar is alcohol, oxygen, and bacteria. By keeping the jar with the apples and water slightly open, it allows for oxygen and the natural bacteria in the air to mix with the natural yeast of the apple. The oxygen and yeast will ferment to create an alcohol. The natural bacteria in the air will then react with the created alcohol and further ferment, creating an acetic acid—the main compound in vinegar.  

The longer you let the vinegar ferment, you will begin to see a cobweb-like substance floating at the top of the jar. This is “the mother,” a combination of acetic acid, fiber, enzymes, and probiotics, which is rumored to be what gives ACV all its benefits.

The science shows that acetic acid will reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, kill pathogens and other bad bacteria, and has an alkaline effect that helps the systems in your body run smoothly, such as your metabolism.

Now that you have your vinegar base, you can build your shrub. Combine your desired fruit, vegetables, or herbs, and sugar. The sugar will draw out the juices of the fruit or vegetable and form a syrup. Strain the syrup and dispose of the solids and then add to the vinegar. Now you have your shrub!

The acidic nature of the vinegar also acts as a natural preservative, making the shelf-life practically indefinite, so if you make a large batch, you don’t have to worry about it going bad and having to throw it away.

Now you can not only enjoy shrubs, but you can impress all your friends with the knowledge of how they are made. Not one to experiment with bacteria and vinegars? No worries! Instead of making your own, you can simply buy any of our five flavors of shrubs online or at any of these local retail or liquor stores.

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