The tree is known for its bright red berries, and the berries of certain species—rhus glabra, rhus typhina, and rhus copallinum, notably—can be dried, ground, and used in traditional Middle Eastern and North African cooking. Scrape them over a screen or sieve to clean the pulp from the seeds. It is a priority for CBC to create a website that is accessible to all Canadians including people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges. Prolific, hearty and tart, the crimson berry clusters are a versatile ingredient in your fridge and your cupboard. âThatâs poison sumac!â she said. Sumac berries contain malic acid, which possess antifungal properties and putative anti-fibromyalgic activity; tannic acid, which is present in tea and wine and is known for its astringent activity; and gallic acid, a white crystalline compound used in dyes, in photography, and in ink and paper manufacture. (By: Eike Wulfmeyer Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic) It is often called "Indian Lemonade," and for good reason, these little berries are tart as all get out, but sweeten up very nicely. Note also: In the Toronto area, sumac drupes usually reach peak ripeness in August or early September. If it’s bitter, you are too early, if it’s bland, you’re too late. You may feel a slight stickiness from touching the red cluster, and when you lick your fingers you will taste the tartness. Staghorn sumac berries are a summer harvest item I look toward with anticipation each year. âNever touch it.â. It is one of the easiest things to harvest. It makes an attractive topping on foods such as hummus, with a mild spicy flavor. Sumac berries are also used in beekeeping smokers. Add peach, blueberries, cherries, or other fruit of your choosing.Â. The cones store well in a paper shopping bag in a cool place for months and should yield good tea until springtime when mints can be harvested from the herb garden for a different tea. In about 10 minutes a person can fill a 5 gallon bucket of them. Fast-growing, pest- and disease-free and drought tolerant, it is the only shrub found in all 48 contiguous states. Smooth Sumac and Winged Sumac drupes are hairless when examined under a stereomicroscope. When you find edible sumac, taste it before taking it - - put a fuzzy berry in your mouth. Collect your Berries. In the fall sumacâs leaves turn a bright red. The large, bright redÂ cones of the edible sumac at the tips of the branches look nothing like the small clusters of whiteÂ berries of the poisonous plant. Add sumac and mint. Soak freshly cleaned and purchased seeds for 12 to 24 hours in room-temperature water. This is the first time I've processed a spice. Editor’s note: It’s early August, which means tomato season is peaking (the Tomato Lady in Sag Harbor just opened this week). Cones can be dried by placing them in a paper bag and hanging them somewhere dark and dry for 2 – 4 weeks. After drying my sumac harvest and rubbing the berries off the bobs, I ground it by hand with mortar and pestle. Add some âgoodâ to your morning and evening. Traditionally, Native Americans would make a vitamin C- rich drink known as “sumac lemonade” by infusing the berries in water. The cone shaped clusters of red, velvety berries are a dead giveaway. The bright red clusters of autumn berries often last into winter. Edible East End is published four times a year and available by subscription, for sale at selected retailers and at other distribution spots throughout Long Island. The natives also used its narrow branches, with pithy centers, to fashion pipe stems after they removed the pith to hollow them out. In any event there are definitely micronutrients in sumac, vitamins and minerals, that are good for health. Making sumac tea is a particularly enjoyable activity for youth as they will have fun making the tea and reap the reward of their efforts by having a … How to Harvest and Preserve Sumac. Generally, birds don’t go in for sumac, but early spring arrivals are less picky. Late July through early August is the optimum time to harvest it’s fruit. Poison sumac – which grows in the Eastern US — has white or gray berries, where edible sumac has red, brown, purple or maroon fruit. I love these things! But, for those Peconic foragers among us, it’s also time to harvest sumac, the native tree whose red-berried cones are reaching their zenith of flavor. Chef Shawn Adler shows how to identify â and transform â this vibrant plant we pass on the road. Early pioneers treated coughs, sore throats and fevers with sumac, while American Indians used these berries to treat anything from reproductive problems to stomachaches and wounds. Sumac trees are very easy to grow and maintain. Box 500 Station A Toronto, ON Canada, M5W 1E6. To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Three common species grown in the United States are staghorn sumac, fragrant sumac, and smooth sumac. However, as of 2016, the Navajo Nation crop farm Navajo Agriculture Products Industries (NAPI) was growing and harvesting sumac berries for commercial distribution on the Navajo Nation. Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) growth early in the season. Sumac … The edibl… At their peak, the clusters of … After pointing out ripe blackberries and letting us all taste the sweet, juicy fruits, the leader of the tour pointed to a short, bushy tree with brilliant red cones on the tops of the branches. By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Serve over ice. Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) with drupe panicles (berry clusters) ready for harvest. To avoid potential particulate contaminants from fuel exhaust, it is best to pick sumac away from busy highways. Many herbal teas are considered diuretics, improving kidney function and ridding the body of toxins. It shares the Latin name rhus with hundreds of other species, several of which are âpoisonous,â but not lethal. I read a newly popular book by Euell Gibbons called Stalking the Wild Asparagus. Be sure to filter the pink liquid through a tea strainer, cheesecloth or paper coffee filter before drinking to remove any fibers that naturally occur with the drupes. Recognize immature berries by their pale green color. That's what we want!! The plant, which boasts furry red cones full of tiny berries, grows abundantly along roadsides and is often used ornamentally in home gardens. If youâve ever driven down a Canadian highway, chances are youâve spotted some wild sumac on your travels. One that we have in abundance here in Central PA is Staghorn Sumac, Rhus typhina. Harvesting your own sumac berries is easy. Our picks for the East Endâs best things to eat and drink, along with fantastic food markets, food sellers, food artisans and other shops. The berries ripen in summer and tend to be wet and sticky when ripe. Comments are welcome while open. In central Arizona, the berries ripen in June. Sumac is, in fact, one … It is impossible to mistake the edible sumac, such as the staghorn, with the poisonous one. It has red clusters of berries rising above the foliage. Watch for berries to appear in midsummer after the June flowers fade and hang under the leaves. I quickly un-learned my âfalseâ lesson and explored this wild food: Iâve been enjoying it ever since. The red berries — red by virtue of the same reddish hairs that cover the tree’s branches — are a great source of malic acid, the substance that gives them a tart, lemony flavor. Sumac berries also have a long history as an herbal remedy. Anishinaabe chef Shawn Adler has been harvesting wild edibles since his mother first showed him how as a child. The only time it’s tricky to harvest staghorn sumac is in the late spring, when the old pods have begun to degrade and the new ones are still too green to harvest. Sumac trees and shrubs are interesting throughout the year. 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