While I truly love growing things, I also really enjoy harvesting straight from nature. I’ve been a wild edible collector for almost as many years as I’ve been a gardener. This year, even Cait seems to have taken to foraging. All that was required was to have her taste the sweet nectar of these two drinks for herself to get her scurrying out the door for more.
This first drink is a tea that is delicious hot or cold. We collect enough of it to dry and have throughout the year, but it’s really good freshly made. Just collect a few red clover heads easily found in fields and along roadsides.
Add a few mint leaves found along wet areas.
Toss this combo into a cup of hot water and let steep for a few minutes for a cup of red clover and mint tea. Not only is it delicious, but it carries health benefits as well. Red clover is a good blood purifier and mint helps settle the stomach.
Our second favorite drink comes from the Staghorn Sumac Tree.
You’ll see these small trees along most roadsides in the northeast. By early summer, the sumac berries are ripe and they’re best picked before any heavy rains. Clip off a few clusters, squeeze them a bit to release their juice and drop them into a pitcher of cold water. Let steep for several minutes, strain and pour. You’ll be rewarded with a wonderful lemonade-like tasting drink.
If you’d like to discover some of your own tasty treats, Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide is a good book to get you started.