Thursday, July 8, 2010

Eat yer weeds!

Always be careful not to gather wild edibles within 50 feet of any regularly traveled road.                       Disclaimer: Poison Sumac is POISON.
The red or staghorn sumac is not the same as poison sumac which has white, drooping berries. Look for the red, upright clusters of seeds on the edible type sumac. These seeds are ripe in August and September....when the white crystals form on the surface and before the autumn rains wash the flavor off.

Edible sumac

Dangerous bad will kill you to death Sumac

If you try any of these please let me know!

The fruit of the staghorn sumac (Rhushirta) was frequently used by Indians and pioneers to make a cool, sour drink. The name staghorn comes from the likeness of the down-covered branches to deer's antlers. The fruit clusters are plucked and boiled in water, strained and sugar is added to give the juice an agreeable lemonade-like flavor.

Take 4 or 5 red sumac seed heads. (Do not wash for the flavor is concentrated on outside of berries.) Cover with water; bring to a boil, strain through a cloth. Add water if necessary to make 2 cupsful.

Combine: 1 1/2 c. sugar 1/2 tsp. salt

Add 2 cups hot sumac extract prepared as above. Cook in double boiler until thick. Beat 3 egg yolks; add a little of the hot mixture. Stir and pour back into double boiler. Cook 2 minutes longer.

Remove from heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter; cool. Pour into baked pie shell. Top with meringue prepared by beating 3 egg whites with 6 tablespoons sugar. Bake at 350 degrees until browned.

Cover sumac with water. Pound and stir for 10 minutes; strain to make an extraction.
2 c. sumac extract
1 pkg. Sure Jell
5 c. sugar
Bring juice, extract, and Sure Jell to a boil. Add sugar and hard boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim. Pour into jars and seal immediately.

Cattail Casserole
2 cups of scraped bud material
1 cup of bread crumbs
1 egg
½ cup of milk
salt to taste
pepper to taste
"…scrape the bud material from the cores, mix 2 cups of buds with 1 cup of bread crumbs, a beaten egg and ½ cup of milk. Then salt and black pepper to taste and bake in a casserole dish in a medium oven for 25 minutes."

Juniper Marinade
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 and 1/2 cups red wine (Burgundy works well)
4 Juniper berries
1 bay laurel leaf
6 whole peppercorns
1 medium onion, sliced
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp. salt
4 pinches mace
2 whole cloves
1/8 tsp. thyme
4 pounds meat or game
Combine all the ingredients and store in a covered jar in the refrigerator for at least one day before using. Place the meat or game in a bowl and pour marinade over it. Turn the meat every couple of hours to allow the marinade to penetrate. Marinate at room temperature for 1 to 2 days depending on how strong a marinade flavor you like. Strain the marinade and use it to baste the meat every 20 minutes while it roasts. One pint of marinade is adequate for 4 pounds of meat. Serves 8. 

Black Birch Tea
"To make a wintergreen-flavored tea, cut some sweet birch twigs in small pieces and cover them with boiling birch sap. Let it steep for a minute or two, then strain out the twigs and sweeten the tea to taste. Some like to add cream or hot milk…
"Birch Tea can also be made of the red, inner bark of sweet birches, but removing this bark from standing timber disfigures and injures the trees. If sweet birches are being cut down anyway, as in land clearing or limbering, one can gather a supply of this fragrant bark without feeling like a vandal. The bark from the stumps and roots is considered best. Use a knife or a carpenter’s wood scraper to remove the outer, dry layer and then peeel off the red inner bark. It peels best in the spring or early summer. If this is cut in small pieces and dried at ordinary room temperature, then sealed in fruit jars one can have the makings of Birch Tea throughout the year. Use boiling water when birch sap is not available. Never boil the twigs or bark in making this tea and never dry the bark in too warm a place, for the wintergreen flavor is very volatile, and is easily driven off by too much heat."

Mulled Sumac
4 cups sumacade
4 whole cloves
1 stick of cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 lemon
freshly grated nutmeg
Put the sumacade in a saucepan and add the cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and sugar. Add the slices of lemon peel and juice of the lemon. Heat the mixture over low heat for 20 minutes. Do not let it boil. Pour into glasses and add a little grated nutmeg on top. Serves 4 to 6. For a winter warm-up, try adding 1/2 ounce of rum.

Dandelion Coffee
1/4 cup dandelion roots
2 tsp. chocolate bits
2 tbs. rum
Collect dandelion roots from healthy plants. Wash and scrub roots to remove all dirt. Dry the roots thoroughly and roast in a 250 degree oven for 2 to 4 hours, until they are brittle and dark brown inside. Grind them and use the powder to make a 4 cups coffee. A drip pot with filter paper works well. Add chocolate and rum to serve after dinner. Serves 4.

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