HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) abc27 Outdoors expert Kermit Henning has a recipe for a drink that will quench your thirst and is easy to make.
It’s made from staghorn sumac. It is not poison sumac. The varieties are different and easy to distinguish.
Poison sumac has clusters of waxy white berries that hang loosely in a droop. Staghorn sumac has erect seed heads of fuzzy red berries and the stems are coated with what looks like the velvet on a young deer’s antlers.
The little red seeds are covered with fine hairs which contain large concentrations of ascorbic acid and malic acid, a tart compound that helps digestion.
To make a lemonade type drink, gather just the dark red seed heads of staghorn sumac. Put them in a kettle or cooler and barely cover them with cold water. Use a potato masher or a wooden spoon and stir them around vigorously crushing the hairs until the water turns a rich dark pink. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth or a coffee filter to remove the plant material.
It will be tart so you can add sugar to taste.