Last year I smoked much of September’s heirloom tomato harvest, then froze them in freezer bags and used them in stews, sauces, and soups throughout the winter and spring. This year I’m smoking the tomatoes again, but instead of freezing, I’m preserving them as “Shrub Syrups” and using them in drinks, sauces, stews, etc., as well as selling them at the farmers’ markets.
Basic Explanation of a Shrub Syrup:
In case you’re new to this site, here’s a brief explanation of what a “shrub syrup” is: Basically it is a concentrated syrup made of fruit, sugar and vinegar. There are various methods of extracting the juice from the fruit (i.e., cold shrubbing vs. hot shrubbing), and various ratios of fruit juice to sugar to vinegar. I will explain the different methods for making shrub syrups in future videos, but one method is illustrated in this previous post:
Popular Uses of a Shrub Syrup:
Although shrub syrups can be used as vinaigrettes, marinades and sauce additions, the original (and most common) way to use them is in drinks. The fruit and sugar take the pungent edge off of the vinegar and the vinegar enhances the sweetness of the fruit syrup, resulting in a really refreshing drink. Recently there has been a revival of shrub-based drinks, especially in the cocktail world. Shrub syrups can take cocktails to new levels, adding depth and complexity to a drink, especially when bitters are added in.
For non-imbibers, the popularity of the sodastream as a replacement for sweet carbonated beverages (i.e., pop) is the perfect foil for shrub syrups. No sodasteam? Just add a few tablespoons of shrub syrups to any kind of fizzy water (club soda, sparkling water, tonic water, etc.) and you have a really nice way to get that much-needed water into your dehydrated body. Make it as sweet as you want and control the calorie count yourself instead of the soda companies controlling it for you.
Behind the Scenes at HeathGlen Farm with our Tomatoes
If you are interested in meeting the HeathGlen Team and seeing some of the ways we use heirloom tomatoes, watch the final video on this post (The Bloody Mary Video). Skip to 1:00 if you just want the how-to.
Using the Smoked Tomato Shrub Syrup in Cocktails: 3 Ways
The Smoky Tomato Martini
In a shaker of ice, combine:
- 2 oz gin
- 1/2 oz tomato shrub syrup
- 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
- 2 dashes plum bitters
Shake ingredients and strain into martini glass. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls.
The Smoky Tomato Daquiri
- 1 oz. Citron vodka
- 1/2 oz. Effen Black Cherry Vodka
- 1/2 oz. Smoked Cherry Shrub Syrup
- 1 oz Tomato Shrub Syrup
- 2 dashes cherry bitters
- 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
In a shaker of ice add all of the above ingredients, shake and strain into glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
The Smoky Tomato Bloody Mary (and a look at HeathGlen)
**Note: The beginning of this video is a behind the scenes look at HeathGlen’s Farm. If you want to go straight to the “how-to” on the Bloody Mary, skip to 1:00.