Almost every summer we make a refreshing drink from the Sumac shrub.

Smooth Sumac-Rhus glabra

We have these growing on our property in healthy patches so we use them for their medicinal purposes. I like to experiment with wild edibles and medicinals and according to common sense recommendations I always perform a test by rubbing some on my wrist and waiting several hours to see if there might be an allergic reaction. Then I proceed to the next step. That being said…I am NOT a Doctor or Homeopath so take all of this with a grain of salt and forage at your own risk. I spend countless hours doing research and plant identification as well as looking up any scientific studies relating to the species I am interested in. Research and “dirt-time” are critical components to my hobby.

It gets hot in Oklahoma and I haven’t found a better method to cool off and feel refreshed than drinking Sumac-ade. Of course we could always jump in a lake or stream, but this method has added benefits for us.

In this series of photos I will admit that I collected drupes from the Sumac rather late in the season and these specimens are not in their prime condition. When prime they are a beautiful, uniform red color. I have read on several occasions, that the drupes need to be collected before a rain or a week or two after since the rain tends to leach out the Vitamin C content.

The first step in the process is to properly identify the plant- be 100% positive that it is the correct species.

Collect however many drupes you need for the quantity you’d like to make.
We use a mortar and pestle to gently crush the seeds to help release the contents.
Next we place the lightly crushed seeds into a bowl full of water and let them soak overnight in the refrigerator.
We strain the mixture through some cheese cloth.
Resultant liquid after the first straining.
Second straining. We place a coffee filter over the mouth of a Mason jar and pour the liquid through.
Our end result. Prime drupes processed in a similar manner will have a more reddish tint than ours did.

This creates a tangy and tart liquid that is very refreshing. You can add a sweetener of your choice-organic sugar or locally grown honey if you prefer. We drink it as is.

Current research shows that:

-High Vitamin C content

-Contains Antimicrobial compounds

-Sugar regulating compounds

-Antioxidant compounds

-Boosts good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol

-and several other benefits

We like the tangy flavor and find that it cools us down on a hot day. It takes some effort to make but its worth it for us. On several occasions we have made this in the field just using a bandana. Currently we carry a few items with us to make foraging and using edible and medicinal plants easier…

We each carry a tea ball strainer and biodegradable tea bags in our packs.

Thank you for reading and have a GREAT weekend…