Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sumac-ade for a sizzlin summer!

It gets hot in summer. A person can only drink so much water before th' body starts craving salt, and electrolytes. We used to squeeze a lime into some ice water and add a small pinch of sea salt, and sometimes we still do. But nowadays our thirst quencher of choice is sumac-ade. It looks and tastes surprisingly like pink lemonade, and if you didn't know what you were drinking you might not even realize it's not pink lemonade.

Add a sprig of fresh mint to it and you've got a drink "el fabuloso", and good for you too. Here's how we make it. First you find your sumac tree, one with new berries, often the old ones from last year will still be on th' tree, but these are dry and have no flavor left in them. Th' berries seem to be at their best when they're fully red, though i have found some pretty tart ones with a little white on their shady side. I taste th' berries before it pick them, to make sure i'm getting th' ones i want. Just stick one in your mouth and taste it, don't bite it, th' seed is bitter. If it makes you pucker, pick th' cluster. We pick enough to fill up a pitcher, or a pot, then take them home, put them in th' pitcher, and cover with cool filtered water. Then i reach my hand in there and squeeze 'em a little bit, or just mash them gently with a wooden spoon, then cover and let 'em sit overnight, stirring or squeezing occasionally. Then we put a cloth napkin in our colander and pour th' brew through to strain out all th' hairs and loose berries. Add a big sprig of fresh mint, and if you so desire a tiny pinch of sea salt. Pour over ice in your favorite cup and your a happy camper.

For some crafty ways to enjoy Sumac, see our crafts blog here!

sumac spoons and candle holder

Sumac-ade in pitcher.

sumac-ade with mint

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