Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sumac Iced Tea for Hot Summer Days

It's been blazing hot here in Ontario as it has been in many areas of North America over the past few months.  We've been reasonably comfortable except for last weekend - even with every trick I could think of it was too hot to do much of anything that required exertion!

We forgo air conditioning at the farm because there is almost always a breeze.  Some of the ways we keep the house cool are pretty obvious to most frugal folks.  We open every window as soon as the sun is off the windows at night.  In the morning we close the windows and any blinds on the east side of the house, continuing to close windows as the sun come around to the south and west.  Most days that keeps it pretty comfy.  We invested in some extra fans this year and make good use of ceiling fans as well.  Basically if we can't keep it cool enough to work during the day we get up early to do chores and relax during the day until evening when we finish the necessities outside. 

In the same vein of keeping cool - I've been learning about Sumac Iced Tea.  We have plenty of sumac trees around and they are in many of the ditches on the nearby side roads.  Last week after a particularly brutally hot day my daughter and I went for a walk after sundown.  I feel cooped up when I can't get outside!  We picked some sumac berries to take home and started our tea.

Staghorn Sumac

I'm not sure it could be simpler!  I lightly rinsed off the berries and covered them with cold water in a glass pitcher with a lid.  I used three heads of berries but you can use more or less.

I left it on the counter to infuse overnight and woke up to a beautiful dark red juice.  I fished out the heads and ran the remaining juice through a coffee filter to strain out the tiny little hairs and bits. You could also use a coffee press or a clean cloth.

Then I added some stevia drops - but you could use the sweetener of your choice.  Some people think it tastes very lemony - like lemonade but personally I found it much milder.

Sumac tea is very high in vitamin C and for most people it's free for the taking right outside the door! Some sources say it has twice the vitamin C of oranges.  It makes a great refreshing hot weather drink!  

Think of the possibilities.  You could add sumac to a large mouthed water bottle on the trail.  It would mask to some degree the taste of iodine treated water and you get a vitamin C kick.  

You can learn more about Sumac Tea by reading here.

I borrowed the following from a Facebook friend.

IT'S SO HOT in Ontario or just about anywhere else in North America right now!

.....the birds have to use potholders to pull the worms out of the ground.
.....the trees are whistling for the dogs.
.....the best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance water comes from both taps. can make sun tea instantly. learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron.
.....the temperature drops below 90 F and you feel a little chilly. break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 5:30 A.M.
.....your biggest motorcycle wreck fear is, "What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death"?
......the potatoes cook underground, so all you have to do is pull one out and add butter.
.....the cows are giving evaporated milk. are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying boiled eggs.

Do you have any tricks that help you stay cool?  Please share.


  1. One trick on very hot days is to use ice (in a ziplock bag) or a freezer pack wrapped in a towel and draped around your neck.Cold water from a stream will work as well. This quickly cools the blood going to the brain and back to the lungs/heart makes you feel more comfortable in minutes. There are even commercial products available that are shaped in a horseshoe style to fit the neck.

  2. Unlike other teas, matcha tea leaves are grown exclusively in the shade meaning that the tea leaves hold more chlorophyll, giving the tea powder that vibrant green color it is so famous for. matcha sensation will also be talking about the chlorophyll that makes matcha green tea what it is and list some of chlorophyll’s impressive health benefits recommended to all.