Sumac berries infused in water tastes like lemonade! Diane and Robert Davis told me about this last spring. I had to wait until late summer before I could harvest the seed heads. (Amazing discovery: Even cutting them made my fingers taste tart!)

Tip #1: Harvest the seed heads before the rains rinse out all the tartness.

Tip #2: Think about where you’re harvesting. Next to a busy or gravel road means your seed heads might also have car fumes or dust.


Sumac seed head

Recipe (one serving):

Place one spike of berries in a pot. Use a fork or large spoon to bruise the seed head as much as possible.

Add a cup of cold water and swish around. You can let it soak or not.

Pour over a fine sieve to filter out the berries. Drink. Add a spoonful of sugar if you like sugar on your grapefruit.


The Davises told me about cranberries, which sometimes freeze on the stem. Then they are even sweeter. While on a hike, they said, popping the frozen berries is an energizer. (Darn—I don’t have cranberry bogs around here.)

And they mentioned hazelnuts, which I remember picking as a kid. While I can find a few seed pods, the squirrels will most likely get there before I can harvest any.

Want to know which plants are edible? I’ll post a short “quiz,” which you can think of as research—or just guess.

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