A Peeler by Definition – a Cucumber and Lime Shrub

A jar of cucumber lime shrub, taken from a low angle, to rather heroic effect.
I woke up in the middle of the night in horror, thinking “cucumbers… vinegar…..pickles! – shit!” but in fact it doesn’t taste like pickles so go back to sleep. It’s actually very refreshing.

A peeler in North America is a stripper. A peeler in England is a police officer. Oh the confusion! The potential jokes! (none of which I can come up with at the moment, but feel free to add in the comments below).

Either way, you’ll need a regular old kitchen peeler for this shrub recipe. I did try making it without peeling (the cucumbers) but this version renders a shrub with more clarity and freshness. I also tried to throw in some mint – both with the limes in the sugar and in the juice – meh. So peel on for a better tasting shrub, and add mint later if you like.

The Peeler by Definition Recipe

  • 3 limes, peeled with as little of the white stuff as possible
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cucumber juice (made from peeled and seeded cucumbers)
  • 1/2 cup raw organic apple cider vinegar

In a medium bow, mix the lime peels and sugar. Pound the peels in the sugar to release the oil from the peel. Cover and let sit on your counter for 24 hours.

In a large jar mix the cucumber juice and the lime/sugar mixture. Shake for as long as you can or until the sugar dissolves. Strain through a sieve to remove the peels.

Add the vinegar to the mixture and pour into a sterilised jar. Keep the closed jar in the fridge, letting it mellow for a few days before drinking ( I, gasp, don’t sterilise the jar, nor do I wait to drink it, but I don’t want to kill you ….so sterilise, be patient).

To drink, mix 1 oz of shrub to 8-10 oz of soda or cold water. Can add the sweetener of your choice if desired. Will keep in the fridge for up to three weeks. Makes about 8 oz of shrub, recipe can be multiplied for a crowd.

4 photos showing peeled limes, sugar pounding, peeled and seeded cucumbers and cucumber juice.

Bitter? Moi? A Lime Shrub

2 glasses of lime shrub - refreshing, not bitter!
To the people who told me limes are too bitter for a shrub: what did limes ever do to you?

So I had read and been told that limes were not a good fruit to make shrubs out of because the oil in the peel is bitter. “What’s a little bitter?” I asked myself and forged on. Well glad I did – this shrub is not bitter at all, and in fact is the best shrub I’ve made so far (I think, anyway). I had a hard time saving enough for the photo shoot. I did use organic apple cider vinegar, which is more mellow than some of the others I’ve tried.

The Recipe

  • 1 cup lime juice – I used 5 limes
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest from the fruit you used for the juice (5 limes in this case)
  • 1 cup organic apple cider vinegar
  1. Juice the limes, refrigerate until required.
  2. Remove the zest from the limes, being careful to include as little pith (the white stuff) as possible.
  3. In a bowl, mix the sugar and zest and give it a thorough pounding to mix. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
  4. Mix the sugar and the vinegar, stir to dissolve the sugar.
  5. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth lined sieve into a sterilised glass jar or bottle (close with a sterilised lid). Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. Give it a stir at least once a day.

Wait at least 4 days for it to mellow a bit, then drink by mixing the shrub with lots of soda or water over ice. A little goes a long way. You can add agave or honey to taste – start with 1 tsp and go from there. They say that the organic apple cider vinegar is good for you. (Not the same “they” that said limes don`t make good shrubs, thankfully)