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Once upon a time, many months before you were cradling that luscious Fern Valley Farms CBD bud in the palm of your hand, that potent little flower was merely a young hemp shrub that grew into adulthood and produced its magnificent yield of cannabinoids and terpenes. 

The only reason we mention this early stage of hemp growth is that, in our latest recipe, we will be using those fabulous cannabinoids to make a shrub, a drinking vinegar that also includes water, fruit (and/or other botanicals), and sugar. The resulting product has a light syrup consistency, with the fruits greatly enhanced by the sweet and sour tangs of the sugar and vinegar additions. But, unlike the premature hemp shrub, this shrub will be filled with the cannabinoids of your choice!

That’s why we call our concoction the canna-shrub, since, with the inclusion of selected cannabinoids, this drink is transformed from a mere libation enhancer into a delicious wellness product!

The History of the Shrub (The Drink, not the Plant)

It appears coincidental that this unique drink bears the same name as a young plant. As far back as the Roman Empire, its citizens were mixing vinegar and water which is where the word “shrub” is derived: the Arabic word for “drink” is “sharbah”; over time it evolved into “shrub.”

Before our modern times introduced the luxury of home refrigeration, prolonging the freshness of perishable foods like fruits and vegetables was a major challenge. The shrub was the perfect answer to preserving the flavors and benefits of fruits as harvests ended; the resulting crop needed to be consumed or properly stored before it turned bad.

It seems that shrubs are again gaining popularity as people seek healthier and different drinks to add variety to their typical libations. While you can store your modern-day shrubs in the fridge, any cool and dark place, such as cabinets, also works.

Vinegar and Its Many Uses 

We may think of vinegar as having limited use, such as a splash with oil for a salad dressing, or when dying hard-boiled Easter eggs. Admittedly, its sharp aroma doesn’t tempt a person to swallow a mouthful of this stuff but in small quantities, vinegar can spice up a dish or drink.

That sharp aroma and pungent taste come from the acetic acid that is produced after two rounds of fermentation. The first round of fermentation occurs when simple sugars are converted to ethanol by using yeast; the next fermentation converts that ethanol to acetic acid and results in vinegar.

For example, apple cider vinegar begins as apple juice to which yeast is added. The sugars are converted by the yeast into alcohol, a classic fermentation process. However, to obtain vinegar it goes through fermentation yet again, this time with bacteria converting the alcohol into the acetic acid that produces the sharp odor and sour tang.

While the process is usually deliberate, alcohols like wines can turn to vinegar when improperly stored. Because it is considered to have “gone bad” and because vinegar generally has a reputation as a tart and pungent liquid, the thought of drinking it does not come to the mind of most people.

We aim to change the mindsets of such individuals with our unusual and potent canna-shrub!

Household Uses for Vinegar

To further expand possibilities, there seem to be unlimited household uses for vinegar. If you Google “vinegar uses” prepare yourself for a long list of vinegar usage lists; it appears this acetic acid does much more than perk up the oil in your salad dressing. For instance, vinegar is also often used for:

  • Cleaning Spray – mix equal parts water and vinegar; add an essential oil that functions as an air freshener while you clean
  • Disinfectant – wipe your cutting boards with a cloth sprayed with vinegar to remove harmful bacteria and other germs that collect when preparing food
  • Eliminate Soap Scum – spray scummy bathtubs with vinegar and then sprinkle baking soda over it; let it fizz until it settles, then wipe away most or all of the scum
  • Flea Deterrent – that sharp odor and pungent taste causes fleas to flee, which should make both dogs and cats thrilled
  • Freshen Smelly Sinks – pour a heaping tablespoon of baking soda down your stinky sink and then pour a cup of white vinegar; after it finishes foaming, clear the drain with a good rinsing and bid those malodorous fumes a firm farewell
  • Hair Treatment – instead of plunking down extra bucks for clarifying shampoo, towel dry your freshly shampooed hair (without rinsing) and apply a 2:1 solution of water and apple cider solution; rinse after a few minutes for clean, oil-free hair
  • Remove Stickers – for stubborn price tags that leave a sticky residue, swab the area with vinegar and let it dry for easier removal of glues and pastes
  • Stain Remover – spilling a glass of red wine on a white carpet is no tragedy if you soak the stain with vinegar and sprinkle baking soda on top; let it dry and vacuum clean 
  • Weed Killer – mix a gallon of white vinegar with a cup of salt and a tablespoon of dish soap to eradicate garden weeds without harmful chemicals

Keep in mind that this is a partial list of vinegar usage; some lists number well over 50 different uses. Since vinegar is rather harmless, don’t hesitate to try it on other things. For instance, one user swears that it removes water stains from furniture and rings from coffee mugs while another claims that wiping your kitchen scissors with a paper towel dampened with vinegar not only disinfects the blades but also reduces the likelihood of rust build-up.

Types of Vinegar Good for Shrubs

Highlighted below are a few vinegar types we feel make an excellent base for your own canna-shrub concoction:

  • White Wine Vinegar – sweet and mild flavoring
  • Rice Vinegar – sweet and delicate flavoring
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – tart and fruity flavoring
  • Malt Vinegar – toasty and rich flavoring
  • Red Wine Vinegar – crisp and sweet flavoring
  • Balsamic Vinegar – zesty and mild flavoring (with this one, a little goes far)

As you can see, just like terpenes are able to change the flavoring, so too can these differently-infused types of vinegar offer unique flavors able to set the tone and mood for your chosen canna-shrub concoction.

Your Canna-Shrub Libation Enhancer Recipe

The concept is actually quite simple; shrubs are the result of a fruit mixture steeped in a vinegar and sweetener mixture so that flavors and coloring are leached from the fruits and infused with the liquid.

Just as vinegar is versatile, so too are shrubs! Before we begin, there is one decision you need to make about how to create your shrub…

Some Like It Hot… Others Prefer The Big Chill

You can prepare this drink either hot or cold with just a slight variation of ingredients. We will walk you through both recipes and you can decide which way to go.

Since there are two methods for preparing shrubs, the natural question is, “What are the differences between the hot and cold shrub recipes?”

Here is the breakdown of the two approaches to shrub-making…

The cold recipe is the traditional method for making shrubs. It takes longer (from 2 to 14 days, depending upon the depth of flavor you want to capture) and the end result is a syrup that seems to perfectly amplify the flavors of the fruit used in the making of the shrub.

In our gotta-have-it-now era, it should come as no surprise that the hot method is faster. With this method, you simmer your fruit medley in a simple syrup that results in a shrub tasting more like fruit preserves in an hour or less.

Either way, you end up with a wonderful concoction that will enhance plain sparkling water or even simple sodas with a fresh fruit tang.

Canna-Shrub Cocktail Ingredients

The ingredients for a shrub are short and sweet regardless of your preparation method. 

The Cold Canna-Shrub Method

  • 1 pound chopped/mashed fruits
  • 2 cups sweetener
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • Fern Valley Farms cannabinoids

The Hot Canna-Shrub Method

  • 1 pound chopped/mashed fruits
  • 2 cups sweetener
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • Fern Valley Farms cannabinoids

END CANNA-SHRUB RESULTS

With either method, you should end up with about 3 cups of shrub which will keep nicely in the fridge or inside a cabinet. It will take six months for the flavor of your shrub to start diminishing but it shouldn’t ever go bad on you! (While highly unlikely, if your shrub turns slimy, produces bubbles, or begins fermenting, dump it out and start anew.) 

Preserving your shrub is likely a moot point though as it will probably only take a week or two to swig down this marvelous fruit-flavored libation enhancer!

USING FRUITS

When using the cold preparation process, feel free to be adventurous and try lots of different fruits and combinations. Fruits that tend to fall apart under heat (melons, for example)  should only be used in the cold process.

For our recipe, we will be using a medley of berries, as follows: 

  • ½ pound of strawberries
  • ¼ pound of raspberries
  • ¼ pound of blueberries

Consider using frozen berries; they are already cleaned for use, there are typically no bad fruits in the batch, and they will macerate just as nicely, if not better, than freshly chopped fruits.

USING SWEETENERS

Most recipes call for cane sugar; we suggest you modify this slightly (or entirely replace it) by creating a combined sweetener using less cane sugar and employing maple syrup instead for a more natural flavoring.

For our recipe, we are using:

  • ½ cup organic cane sugar
  • ½ cup cannabinoid-infused maple syrup

For infusing cannabinoids into your maple syrup, we offer you two options:

USING VINEGAR

As already listed above, there are many kinds of flavored vinegar you can try during your shrub-making endeavors. As each type of vinegar carries its own unique properties, have fun matching up different flavored vinegar to different fruit medleys.

For our recipe, we want to maintain and emphasize the berry fruit theme, so we picked apple cider vinegar for our vinegar base. 

USING CANNABINOIDS

The above ingredients are needed for a basic shrub but since we are making a canna-shrub, we must have our cannabinoids! You get to decide the type and quantities of cannabinoids you want to add to transform this already amazing drink into an otherworldly experience!

Directions

Using the proper ingredient list shown above, follow the desired preparation process. Remember, the cold method takes a couple of days and produces a more true fruit flavor while the hot method will be done in an hour or so, delivering a shrub tasting more like fruit preserves. In either case, you end up with a delightful drink enhancer flavored with real fruits and infused with potent cannabinoids!

COLD CANNA-SHRUB METHOD

  1. Cut up one pound of your chosen fruit into ¼ inch pieces or smaller. For crisper fruits like apples, you could also gently mash the fruit after chopping it up to help release juices. For this FVF concoction, we are using ½ cup of strawberries and ¼ cup each of raspberries and blueberries. Since they are all small fruits, there should be little to no chopping required.
  2. Pour your sweetener over the fruit. Stir until the fruit is evenly coated. Our sweetener is made of ¾ cup of organic cane sugar and ¼ cup of maple syrup which is infused with 1ml of pure Delta 8 or THC-O distillate (we don’t recommend using our terpene-enriched distillates, as those wonderful terpenes will likely be buried by the strong fruit and vinegar aromas).
  3. Store loosely covered (a cloth towel or cheesecloth works well) at room temperature for 8 to 48 hours. Alternatively, you can store it tightly covered in the fridge for two to three days. In either case, stir the mixture at least once (preferable twice) daily. 
  4. Once the mixture looks juicy enough, strain the liquid into a large measuring cup (you should have about two cups of fluid) and dump the leached fruit materials.
  5. While you should have two cups of vinegar on hand (we’re using apple cider vinegar), don’t add it all to your juice mixture at once. Rather, add one cup of apple cider vinegar, stir well and give it a taste test. If you want a strong fruit flavor and a milder zing, you may be close to the proportion that will please your palate. On the other hand, if you like a snappy tang to your drinks, you will probably want more vinegar; if so, add more apple cider vinegar slowly and continue testing the flavor. When it meets your taste standards, pour the resulting concoction into a jar (or attractive pitcher that can be covered) and store it in your fridge.

HOT CANNA-SHRUB METHOD

  1. Cut up one pound of your chosen fruit into ¼ inch pieces or smaller. For crisper fruits like apples, you could also gently mash the fruit after chopping it up to help release juices. For this FVF concoction, we are using ½ cup of strawberries and ¼ cup each of raspberries and blueberries. Since they are all small fruits, there should be little to no chopping required.
  2. Add one cup of water and two cups of sweetener to a saucepan. Our sweetener is made of 1½ cups of organic cane sugar and ½ cup of maple syrup. Stir over low to medium heat until the water and sweetener completely mix. (Since we need to simmer this, we won’t add cannabinoids until after the completion of the heating process.)
  3. Add in the fruit combination and bring to a mild simmer. Maintain an even, gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 20 minutes.
  4. Add the vinegar (in our case, 1 cup of apple cider vinegar) to the saucepan and return to a gentle simmer, for about 5 more minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Once cool, pour the mixture through a strainer into a wide-mouth jar and toss the leached fruit materials. Add 1ml of pure Delta 8 or THC-O distillate to the final product (we don’t recommend using our terpene-enriched distillates, as those wonderful terpenes will likely be buried by the strong fruit and vinegar aromas) and stir vigorously for one minute. Store covered in the fridge.

For either method, you will probably end up with about 2½ to 3 cups of canna-shrub. Since this libation enhancer is strongly flavored, you won’t need much to add some pizazz to your beverages. We recommend you start with one tablespoon per glassful of sparkling water.

Calculating Canna-Shrub Potencies

Of all our recipes, you may find this one to be the easiest for measuring the potency of your added cannabinoids.

In either the cold or hot method, our recipe calls for the addition of 1ml (the liquid equivalent of a dry gram) of either Delta 8 or THC-O distillate. 

Let’s calculate the potency of each of these cannabinoids, so you have an idea of how many cannabinoids are contained in one tablespoon (our recommended starting measure for a glass of sparkling water).

Delta 8 Distillate Potency Calculation

  • Our Delta 8 Distillate contains about 80% potency
  • 1ml added to your 3-cup canna-shrub concoction has about 800mg of Delta 8 THC
  • There are 16 tablespoons to one cup; therefore there are 48 tablespoons in 3 cups of our canna-shrub
  • 800mg divided by 48 = 16.7mg of Delta 8 THC per tablespoon

Want more or less than the calculated amount shown above? Use this easy table to determine how much you should add to your own canna-shrub creation.

  • ½ml = 8.35mg of Delta 8 THC per tablespoon
  • 2ml = 33.4mg of Delta 8 THC per tablespoon
  • 3ml = 50.1mg of Delta 8 THC per tablespoon

THC-O Distillate Potency Calculation

  • Our THC-O Distillate contains about 70% potency
  • 1ml added to your 3-cup canna-shrub concoction has about 700mg of THC-O
  • There are 16 tablespoons to one cup; therefore there are 48 tablespoons in 3 cups of our canna-shrub
  • 700mg divided by 48 = 14.6mg of THC-O per tablespoon

Want more or less than the calculated amount shown above? Use this easy table to determine how much you should add to your own canna-shrub creation.

  • ½ml = 7.3mg of THC-O per tablespoon
  • 2ml = 29.2mg of THC-O per tablespoon
  • 3ml = 43.8mg of THC-O per tablespoon

As we always urge, do start slow and low! If you find that you want your canna-shrub to be more potent, you can always stir in more distillate. That is preferable to diluting a too-potent canna-shrub, as those balanced fruit flavors and vinegar tang are then watered down.