Sumac tea is easy to make and readily available in the late summer and fall here in Minnesota. There are several varieties of edible sumac that thrive throughout North America. These shrubs or small trees have lemon scented, alternate leaves and grow from 4 to 20 feet tall. The upright berries are ripe usually in late August through October. As long as the berries are red or red-orange they are safe to use and make one of the best tasting iced teas around! The flavor is reminiscent of a mild cranberry lemonade and is a great source of natural vitamin C.
Everyone's heard of poison sumac but the plant is much different than the edible species. It is not a very common plant so I don't have a picture but here's a brief description to help you identify it:
Since we are using the upright red berries for sumac tea you don't need to worry about mistaking edible sumac for the poison variety!
HOW TO MAKE SUMAC TEA
Pick 3-5 bright red berry clusters on a dry day and crush lightly with your hands. Put the berries in a pitcher and fill with cold water. Let the berries infuse for anywhere between a couple hours to a couple days depending on your taste. Strain through a coffee filter or cheese cloth as some varieties of sumac have irritating, tiny hairs that you'd rather not ingest. (A coffee press or french press is a great investment as it has a strainer built in) Once your tea is strained, sip and enjoy one of the best pink lemonades ever!
The sumac berries are full of natural vitamin C. That is the reason you use only cold water to make sumac berry-ade as hot water destroys the vitamin C.
American Indians knew sumac was full of the natural c vitamin and used it to treat colds, fever and scurvy. They also used the ground berries mixed with clay as a poultice on open sores and wounds. Native Americans also mixed the dried sumac berries with tobacco to smoke in peace pipes!
Sumac has also been used for diarrhea, dysentery, sore throats, infections, asthma, cold sores and even as a general tonic. You can even make sumac wine or a sumac tincture if you are so inclined.
Sumac is not only a useful plant but is an exceptionaly beautiful red in the fall!
"When the earth is sick and polluted,
human health is impossible....
To heal ourselves we must heal our planet,
and to heal our planet we must heal ourselves."
Have you tried a sumac remedy or have a great sumac recipe?
Share your knowledge or experience!
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
hello, my wife and I are just getting into tincture making. Both of us are researching medicinal values of different herbs and plants. I came across sumac …
A native elder suggested sumac syrup for my son's cough: equal parts sugar and brewed sumac tea, simmer until reduced to 1/2 or less and has syrupy consistency. …
Vitamin C Content in Sumac?
What is your source about the vitamin c content of sumac berries?
My farrier told me to make the tea for my pony who has a bad cough for no reason. I haven't tried it yet, but she uses it all the time and says it works. …
Sumac used in apiary
My grandfather raised bees and harvested honey and beeswax 55 years ago. When harvesting the honey from the bee hives, he would use the smoke from sumac …
Meyer Lemon & Sumac Hummus
Meyer Lemon & Sumac Hummus Recipe 2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed 4 small garlic cloves, peeled 2 small meyer lemons, zest and juiced …
Make Sumac Powder
Did you know you can make sumac powder to use as a spice? True! Powdered sumac has a tart flavor that can be used on fish, chicken, over salad dressings, …
Easy Sumac Tea
Here is a real easy way to make sumac tea. Like green tea sumac berries are a natural source of tannins. In addition, sumac berries contain gallic …
Staghorn Sumac Suntea
Staghorn Sumac Suntea Infusion Lemonade! Put fresh sumac in a glass container, add cold living spring water & let it sit in the sun for several hours or …
Herbal Sumac Uses
Author and herbalist Matthew Wood talks about the many medicinal uses of one of his favorite herbs- sumac.
Identify and Forage for Sumac
Learn with Green Deane about the wild food sumac, a source of vitamin C and a cooling drink that tastes like lemonade.