Charlotte & the Quail


cherry vinegar shrub

If you live in Victoria and have never driven down Oldfield Road in Central Saanich, make it this weekend's mission to do so. A treasure trail of wonderment awaits you. Littered with road side farm stands, grazing horses, barn markets, berry picking fields and a sweet little bakery {with the best cherries} it is worth the 20 minute drive outside of the city. And while you are out and about you could always swing our way for brunch on the patio, just saying...

It's the road we tell so many of our customers to go to if they are looking for a farm life adventure while out of the city, it is where most of us here at Charlotte do our daily/weekly grocery shopping, it is quintessential farming beauty. The road itself is long and straight, lined with picturesque fields, twinkling dappled light, grape & fruit orchids, organic produce signs and coolers of fresh free range eggs. 

A few must see spots along your drive:

Dan's Farm & Country Market

Sun Wing Tomatoes

Steller Blueberries

Symphony Vineyard

Oldfield Orchard & Bakery

If you go fast you still might be able to get some seasonal cherries at either Oldfield Orchard & Bakery {they make some pretty darn good pies too} or at Dan's Farm & Country Market. If you can't find anymore island cherries pick up some of our neighbouring Okanagan cherries in stores now to whip up this really easy cherry vinegar shrub. 

A shrub or drinking vinegar is an age-old method of preserving fruits. They are made with a combination of fruit juice, sugar and vinegar, left to steep for 7-10 days and out comes the most deliciously sweet yet tangy simple syrup. This cherry shrub can be used in a multitude of ways, marinades, dressings, cocktails and spirits to name a few. 

We have been using this cherry shrub as the base for our simple salad dressing that has been on the menu over the summer. This recipe makes a big batch, is simple to make and if kept right the shrub can last you over 12 months! Store it in clean air tight containers in the fridge, transferring them to new clean containers every couple of months to keep any bacteria away. 

Cherry Vinegar Shrub

2 cups cherries, halved and pitted
1.5 cups whole cane sugar
10 black peppercorns
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 apple cider vinegar

combine fruit, peppercorns and sugar in a jar.  stir to evenly coat the fruit.  allow mixture to sit for about an hour, then macerate until the fruit is nice and broken up.  cover and let sit for 24 hours.  you can leave the mixture out at room temperature or place into the fridge. 
after 24 hours, macerate the mixture again - crush that fruit!
now, you can add the vinegars.  stir well.  store at room temperature for 7-9 days making sure to give it a good stir each day.  when the time is up, pour the mixture through a cheesecloth lined sieve, then transfer to a clean jar.  store your shrub in the fridge.

drinking vinegar: add 1 part syrup to 3 parts sparkling water - sip away