Anyway, after all the rain we've been having those biting gnats are being terribly pesky! So it's back into my bug shirt. So far this year I've not been in the emergency room from bug bites. I'm really, terribly allergic and I'm grateful for my bug shirt. I bought it almost 10 years ago from Bugbaffler.com and I've not been sorry. I highly recommend this company. I've worn and washed it several times. I bought the hooded top and pants for mosquito season, bought the No-See-Ums hooded top for the little gnats and it really works. The bafflers are worth every penny. I don't wear it all summer. Just during those times when the bugs seem to be swarming but during those times I'd be housebound without it.
I checked the calendar this morning and realized that today is the day for Step 3 - straining the shrubs. I first strained them through a fine mesh strainer and mashed the fruit down to get all the juice and then poured the shrub in a quart jar. I ran it all through what is called a tea sock and that strained out any of those little strawberry hairs (for lack of a better word) and the pepper particles so that I ended up with this wonderful, clear, and sweet fruity vinegar. You could also strain it through cheesecloth but I use tea socks. They are just so handy to have for making tea and for straining smaller amounts of things. (Just as a point of information here, in case you're following along, always make sure when working with vinegars that your equipment is dry. Water makes the vinegar cloudy and the shrub is just beautiful and clear.) Now the shrub is shelf stable. Obviously, the colonists didn't refrigerate their shrubs and you don't have to either! You can though, so do as you wish. You will need to let the shrub sit for at least another week and you may wish to let it sit 2 weeks to allow the sharp odor and flavor of the vinegar to mellow. I'm going to put pics below instead of on my Pictures page. This is so exciting for me!! Needless to say, it doesn't take much, huh?!!