Homesteading Know-How: Making Staghorn Sumac Lemonade.

Live in the north and can’t raise lemons for lemonade? You can still have lemonade! You can have it from the Staghorn Sumac – Rhus Typhina. I’ve made it and you can too. Here’s a quick, brief tutorial for utilizing what many believe to be a ‘trash tree’.


Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

They will typically be located next to roadsides and in recently cleared fields. They grow on a variety of mostly dry and poor soils.

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Harvest the “berries” (they are just seeds covered with a red velvety [read hairy] skin. Get them when they are dark red and fully ripened. In my area that’s usually July through August. The longer they sit out in the rain after ripening the less flavor they will have.

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Cut them off the cluster and put them in a pot with water to steep, even better if it is filtered water with systems as Pureosmosis.

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Now this next bit can be controversial (“WHAT?” you say, something on the internet is controversial?), but I boiled mine. Some folks insist that a long cold steep is the best otherwise they are “bitter”. That wasn’t my experience.

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Filter the steeped berries.

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Sometimes a double filter is necessary. At this point you will want to add sugar to taste.

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Enjoy your Sumac Lemonade!

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Post Author: tmhstead

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