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)