In late summer and early fall, wild sumac berries ripen and turn a brilliant, deep red. You may have a tree in your backyard or local hiking spot. Did you know the berries can be turned into "lemonade"? Don't worry, we are not
talking about poison sumac, which is a different plant with white berries. The tart, reddish-purple berries of edible sumac have been consumed by Native Americans, early settlers, and modern foragers for centuries. North American sumac varieties like smooth sumac (Rhus glabra
) and staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina
) are also related to the Middle Eastern sumac which is ground into a lemony spice
Lately we've come across several articles about sumac-ade, and we're dying to try it. Here are a few recipes and tips for foraging. Have you ever made this?
• Fun with Food: Sumac, from Martha's Vineyard Magazine
• Sumac: The Wild Lemonade Berry, from Countryside & Small Stock Journal
• Sumac Lemonade, from Little House in the Suburbs
Note: We read that anyone allergic to cashews or mangoes might also be allergic to sumac.
Related: Ingredient Spotlight: Sumac
(Image: Flickr member Muffet licensed under Creative Commons)