While driving last week to visit Maumee Bay State Park, I notice beautiful bright red Staghorn Sumac seed heads still attached to the branches, it reminded me of an old recipe for sumac lemonade. I have only had it in fall when I was a child and thought this old recipe should be resurrected. This is an old recipe was used by early pioneers and Native Americans.
The name refers to the stout, velvety branches that look similar to the antlers of a buck. Harvest the berries in the late summer and fall, if you harvest too early the flavor has not yet developed, make sure they color is a deep red. Also a good source of vitamin C.
1 quart of sumac berries
1 gallon water
sugar to taste
Bring water to a boil
Place sumac in a large teapot or non-metal container
Pour boiling water over the sumac
Steep for 20minutes - 2 hours
Strain through cheesecloth or a coffee filter
Enjoy over ice
Add sparkling water for a little fizz, make a stronger decoction to make into jelly or add other berries.
SAFETY NOTE ***** The red fruit spikes of the 'Staghorn Sumac' create a wonderful brew. The 'WHITE' fruit of the 'POISON SUMAC' is as deadly as its name. The fruits do not look the same, but ask someone who knows the difference to teach you