Have you noticed this tree around your neighborhood? Well its red blossoms are ready to harvest. This is a sumac tree, not the poisonous kind, but the kind that makes a delicious tea full of essential vitamin C.
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 exceptionally beautiful red in the fall!