Saturday, June 28, 2014

Don Whoa! Redux

Continuing the parade of old favorites that are finally being accompanied by recipes, we have the unusual, yet delightful Don Whoa!, a shrub whose primary flavors are pineapple and habanero in which raw coconut vinegar becomes the major vinegar component.

Before I knew much about the different kinds of vinegar, I must admit that my initial assumption was that it would be a no-brainier to use coconut vinegar with pineapple. One look at that combination is enough to start a montage of piña coladas dancing through one's fevered imagination set to an obligatory Rupert Holmes soundtrack. If you go back and read my initial post on this shrub, I talk about the unexpected butterscotch notes that cropped up. While it wasn't what I envisioned, it was an exciting detour in flavor that people who have had this have really come to enjoy. 

But my guess is that you are really here for the recipe rather than a retread of the old post, so without further ado, here it is...

Well, almost. 

Taking a page from what we have learned about adjusting the heat level of you shrub when using chiles, one minor adjustment I would make when making this recipe would be to warm the raw coconut vinegar slightly and steep some halved habanero peppers in it until you have reached your desired heat level. After a few years of trial and error, it is really the best way to reach a consistent level of heat. 

Don Whoa!
12 oz raw coconut vinegar
4 oz white wine vinegar
16 oz pineapple, roughly chopped
12 oz Sugar In The Raw
1-3 habanero peppers, halved, seeded and membranes removed depending on desired heat level

Pyrex measuring cup
Large glass jar or non-reactive receptacle
Muddler, immersion blender, or Vita-Mix
Metal strainers
Funnel, preferably canning funnel
Tea strainer
Clean glass bottles

Cut peppers in half, optionally seeding and removing membranes to reduce heat level. Set aside.

Pour white wine vinegar into Pyrex measuring cup and microwave until hot but not boiling. Gently immerse hot peppers into hot vinegar and cover with lid, plate, cling wrap or other means of holding in heat. Agitate gently, and check every 15-20 minutes to see if desired spice level has been reached. Remove peppers and any seeds that may have become loosened during steeping process. Set steeped vinegar aside.

Remove top, bottom, and outer skin of pineapple, slicing into rough chunks, until there are 16 ounces of pineapple chunks. You may macerate the pineapple with 12 ounces of Sugar In The Raw by either placing pineapple and sugar in the jar you will be making shrub in and muddling or using immersion blender until a syrupy pulp forms, or alternatively blending pineapple and raw sugar in Vita-Mix and pouring blended results into the glass jar. In either case, put jar of pineapple/sugar mixture into refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to 5.

Remove jar from refrigerator and add both coconut and chile infused white wine vinegar to pineapple/sugar mixture. Agitate vigorously and place back in refrigerator for 1 week.

At the end of one week, place two strainers over a large Pyrex measuring cup. Carefully pour contents from the jar into the strainer, occasionally pausing to press on solids to squeeze out excess liquid. Discard solids. 

To bottle, situate tea strainer in funnel, and gently pour shrub through tea strainer into clean bottle. Refrigerate. Shrub should keep bottled in refrigerator for at least six months and likely up to 1 year or more.

Depending on fruit, may yield 16-24 ounces of shrub.


Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll pop by later this week, as I will show you some other remarkable permutations of this tangy, tropical beverage.

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