Saturday, September 26, 2009

Stamp Out Homelessness Gather, Sumac Recipe - SumacAde

Today we all headed to Rocky Neck State Park for the Stamp Out Homelessness gather hosted by Maire's Facets. The gather also was for Malta Inc. Malta provides food, clothing and toiletries to the homeless as well as providing housing at a transitional living facility consisting of four apartments. The Malta house has assisted multiple families and single men in the past 8 years, including a family of 8, from New Orleans, after the hurricane. Donations were accepted, and additional stamps representing the possible donations were available.

The weather was sunny, but cool in the shade. Robert managed to collect the limited time series--The Twilight Series and the bonuses, too. He also managed to find some boxes that are not located on AQ or Gillian and I (Karen) stayed behind at the event, to do PTs, exchanges, event boxes, play and eat from the potluck table. There was a wonderful array of food, I think the potluck is always a good idea. We brought some autumn olive shortbread bars and sumac-ade. I made the bars with some autumn olive jam. I even picked a branch from a nearby bush to show some people what an autumn olive was. After the gather wound up, we drove to Niantic to grab a few boxes at Book Barn, and a few more along the way. We were all tired and hungry again by the time we got home. It was a long, wonderful day.

Sumac grows in the Northeast in large amounts. There are 3 varieties we see most often--staghorn, smooth and dwarf sumac (Rhus typhina, Rhus glabra, and Rhus copallina). They grow as tall shrubs in cleared areas, along highways, and old fields. They are botanically related to cashews and mangoes. The shrubs grow in dense stands and have alternate, feather-compound leaves divided into leaflets. The berry heads ripen to red in July through August. It is best to pick the berry clusters before rain, since rain will wash the lemony ascorbic acid away. Ascorbic acid is just a fancy way of saying vitamin C! Another way to enjoy sumac is eating the shoots. If you can, find a stand that has been cut down and is growing back, or just use the spring growth from older trees. The shoot is cut and if no woody pith is visible, it is tender enough to be peeled and eaten raw. We planted a box in Lebanon called Foraging Sumac, near a stand of smooth sumac. For some photos of sumacs, see Robert's website .


Sumac-Ade makes about 1 gallon

1 gallon room temperature water
about 12 sumac berry clusters
paper coffee filters
1 c. sugar

1. Pour the gallon of water into a large bowl.
2. Add the sumac berry clusters to the water, breaking up the clusters a bit. Mix.
3. Allow the sumac berries to steep for 8 hours, to overnight.
4. Filter the juice through paper coffee filters into a jug to remove the berries, debris, and hairs.
5. Pour about 4 cups of the filtered juice into a saucepan, add the sugar, and bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes. Cool.
6. Return the sweetened juice to the gallon, and shake it up. Serve chilled.

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