DIY Habanero Shrub ~ Hot Stuff for your health!

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Every once in a while, I come across a recipe that lights up my imagination.
When at the International Herb Symposium  2 years ago, I had the pleasure of tasting one of my friend Susan Belsinger’s delicious concoctions. A few herbgals were having a visit prior to heading over the the ‘herbalists ball’ on the Saturday evening. Susan, always so generous and eager to share her ideas, brought out a little amber jar and some cups. With a twinkle in her eye, she poured a little into each cup, and well.. my love affair with her ‘Habanero Shrub’ * was born.

I had heard of ‘shrubs’ many years ago in classes with Rosemary Gladstar, who loves to experiment with scrumptious herbal combinations and has taught me many a fabulous recipe over the years. Shrubs are often made with fruit, and are a delicious way to enjoy the ‘harvest’ year ’round. To celebrate ELDER as ‘Herb of the Year 2013’, I made a fabulous Elderberry shrub last summer. Rhubarb is another favourite. NO LIMITS!!

Habaneros are among the hottest of commercially grown  chili peppers. They contain over 300% more vitamin C than an orange. They are a great source of potassium, magnesium, and iron and a good source of A and  B vitamins.

Capsaicin (found in all hot peppers like cayenne, habanero etc.)  acts an anti-inflammatory agent within the body, and can help treat the symptoms of inflammation-based conditions like arthritis and headaches.  Capsaicin stimulates blood flow through the body, which can also help relieve the congestion associated with the common cold and sinus infections. Research indicates that these hot peppers possibly have an anti-ulcer protective effect on stomachs infected with H. pylori. Known for supporting the cardiovascular system, members of this family of plants are excellent heart tonics. Bring on the cold weather! I am ready!

The Habanero Shrub is SPECIAL. I am thrilled with how it tastes. I am a wimp when it comes to HOT stuff…and so am so happy that, despite the kick of this potion (knock your socks off BLAST), I do enjoy it. I love watching others try it ~ I love watching the look on their face, if the truth be told.  It’s got a kick, for sure but the heat feels good. I can only imagine how powerful it’s going to be as a winter remedy! I have bottled it but I’ve also put some into a  50ml cobalt blue bottle with dropper for quick access, on the run.
Shrubs make great gifts. This one is very popular!


1/4 cup of ripe blemish-free Habanero peppers
1 cup apple cider vinegar
Less than 1 cup raw honey (local when possible)

Cut slits in the Habaneros (Suggest wearing rubber gloves for this delicate job!)
Put the chiles in a sterilized pint-size jar and pour in the vinegar.
Cover tightly. Place the jar in the fridge for a week or more.
I left this jar infusing for 2 months
Strain out the chiles.^
Measure the Habanero vinegar.
Add an equal amount of honey.
Label + store in a sterilized jar, in a cool place, away from children.

^authors suggestion: Cover these remaining chiles with more vinegar or cook up into a whiz-bang hot sauce!


Here’s to your health! Please leave a comment ~ Have you made any SHRUBS?  

What do YOU make with Habaneros? Please leave a comment!

*The habanero shrub recipe is from the creative herbal home
 by susan belsinger and tina marie wilcox, ©2007.

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  • What would you use this for? How would you use it? and what is a Shrub? Is it kind of like a salve, or a honey to use in a tea or drink?

  • I raise Habanero, Scotch Bonnet, Fatali, Maruga Scorpion, plus a few others. I dry the peppers and extract the oil from them. Which ends up extremely hot. I juice the peppers and make a hot apple jelly. I am always looking for new ideas to use my peppers, so thanks for yours, I will try it and let you know. Thanks again. If you would like to see what I do, you can go to (papa bears peppers) on face book and check it out. Have a good night.

    • Thanks so much for sharing. I will look forward to hearing how it turns out.. Would love your hot apple jelly recipe!
      Good wishes, Carol

  • Thank you so much for the info! I have been using hot peppers all year and drying them since i found out the healing power of them, i never thought of jaring them and adding honey is heaven. Thanks again!

  • Now I have made two shrubs. A blackberry, which made fine cocktails, and a hot pepper shrub, which I gave some to a neighbor with cancer and some to a buddy who stated it is the worlds best hangover remedy.

    Blackberry Dandy
    In a tall glass
    2 shots of blackberry shrub
    1 shot vodka
    3 leaves basil, muddled
    Club soda to fill
    sprig of basil on top to garnish

    Pepper shrub shot
    Rocks glass
    1 shot pepper shrub
    top with club soda or tomato juice

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