What is a Shrub? you may ask. It is a drinking vinegar, usually a fruit concentrate that is added to sparkling water, tablespoon by tablespoon depending on your strength preference, to give it a zesty flavor. Since it’s non-alcoholic and slightly fermented, it is a perfect drink over ice for those who don’t want an alcoholic beverage.
It’s also good to add to sparkling white wine or for in the mixed drink fixin’s.
I came across a ginger shrub at a health food grocery in downtown Oaxaca. It was 50 pesos for about 2 ounces. That’s about $2.65 USD. Give it a try, I thought. And, wow, was it delicious added to club soda. I’m going to make some.
So, I researched recipes online. There was none for mango and none for mango combined with ginger. I had two very large and very ripe mangoes in the refrigerator. I’ll use them for this experiment.
Mangoes are plentiful here this time of year. They grow on the coast of Oaxaca and most of them are the size of a large man’s fist. They cost about 5 pesos each.
My Mango-Ginger Shrub Recipe:
Peel and dice the mango, separating fruit from pit. Put in a medium size mixing bowl. Total should yield 2 cups of fruit. Mash fruit until you get a pulp.
Dice 5 cubes of candied ginger. Add to mixing bowl. I buy the candied ginger here in Oaxaca at the health food store.
Add 1-1/2 C. apple cider vinegar and 1/2 C. balsamic vinegar to the bowl.
Add 2 C. Mexican cane sugar to the bowl.
Stir well. Cover bowl with clean dish cloth. Set a plate on top and put aside so as not to disturb. Let sit for 48 hours, stirring once every 24 hours.
Drain liquid from pulp. Pour liquid into glass jar or clean container and refrigerate. Will keep up to 3 weeks. To use, put 1-2 T. into a drinking glass. Add ice cube and seltzer water. Stir and drink.
Because this drink is slightly fermented and has a vinegar sweet sour flavor, I suspect it is also an excellent pro-biotic and belly soother.
Yield: About 8 fluid ounces.
All the recipes I read recommended that you discard the fruit after extracting the liquid. I say NO. Use it to top crackers with cheese and avocado. Delicious. Muy rico!
Oaxaca Tropical Fruit + Tomato Ginger Chutney Recipe: With Some Heat!
Tropical Fruit + Tomato Ginger Chutney atop Boulanc’s walnut infused rye bread
I’ve been sequestered in my Teotitlan del Valle casita for some days now (without internet connection), more out of choice than anything. Best to hide from the heat of the day under the ceiling fan with a sewing or cooking project.
Saucepan with fruit and spices before taking the heat
So, after a trip to the Tlacolula market on Sunday where I saw an overabundance of fresh mango and papaya piled to the rooftops, I had to have some. Then, there were the tomatoes, everywhere. Did you know that tomatoes are one of Mexico’s gifts to the world?
A full pot as the cooking gets underway!
I went home and made up this recipe for a chutney jam that is great on toast or to accompany meat, poultry fish or top on steamed veggies and rice.
Lime juice and zest makes this recipe tangy sweet a la Oaxaca
I grow these peppers in a pot on my rooftop terrace. They add the heat! They are either Fresno or Serrano peppers. Not exactly sure!
Put all fruit and spices together into a six quart saucepan. Add lime juice and zest. Stir in sugar. Stir well. Put saucepan on a heat diffuser over low heat for temperature control and so bottom of pan doesn’t burn. Sugar and juices will dissolve together into a thin syrup with fruit floating around. Bring to simmer.
Note: Remove the peppers mid-way through the cooking process if you don’t like spicy.
Continue cooking on simmer, stirring frequently, until liquid reduces by 50% and thickens to a jam consistency. You can use a thermometer or test for doneness if liquid drops in thick globules from a metal spoon raised about 12″ above the sauce pan.
When it’s done, it looks like this. Of course you can always sample for thickness.
We live at 6,000 feet altitude here in Oaxaca, so cooking takes time. The chutney jam was ready after about 2 hours on the burner. Patience here is a virtue!
The lowest flame on my stove. Note the heat diffuser.
Refrigerate to eat within the next week or two. Or, process for 10 minutes in canning jars in a water bath until the tops seal.
I’ll freeze a small batch and eat the rest. Maybe you’ll come for dinner?
Tips: Last week I used cantaloupe and did not use tomatoes or pineapple. I also substituted kumquat for ginger. You could also add thin slices of oranges and lemons instead of the lime and use 1/4 c. vinegar. Muy sabroso!
Candied ginger, my stash from Pittsboro, North Carolina, used with consideration.
I want to acknowledge two friends who gave me recipe inspiration: Natalie Klein from South Bend, Indiana, and David Levin from Oaxaca and Toronto. Natalie is a friend of 40+ years who shared her tomato ginger chutney recipe with me and I have adapted it many times, even canning and selling it.
Close-up of the fruit and spice medley
David (and friend Carol Lynne) returned from Southeast Asia a few months ago where they took cooking classes. David has made chutney ever since. He inspired me to try my own hand at the concoction.
Lime zest sits on pile of julienne white onions
More years ago than I care to count, I owned and operated a gourmet cookware shop, cooking school, and cafe. It’s in my DNA.
Posted in Cultural Commentary, Food & Recipes, Photography
Tagged candied fruit, chutney, condiment, cook, eat, food, ginger, jam, Mango, Mexico, Oaxaca, papaya, pineapple, recipe, tomato