Staghorn Sumac Tea

The Staghorn Sumac Tree
Wild sumac is a shrub or small tree native to North America. Common to much of Michigan, the Great Lakes region and New England, Staghorn Sumac (rhus typhina) is easily identified by its fuzzy compound leaves and cone-shaped cluster of red berries. See our article on Staghorn sumac for more information.

Rhus typhina, Staghorn Sumac fruit cluster
Rhus typhina, Staghorn Sumac fruit cluster (Photo By: Rasbak / Wikimedia Commons)

Staghorn Sumac Health Benefits
Sumac is an ancient medicinal plant with antioxidant properties, and significant levels of Vitamin C. Native Americans used Sumac to treat colds, sore throats, fever, infections, diarrhea, dysentery and scurvy. Sumac has also been used to treat asthma and cold sores. It also lowers blood sugar, as it has hypoglycemic properties and can aid in diabetes management. Ground berries mixed with clay created a salve used on open wounds, and Sumac berries are also used in smokers by beekeepers.

Staghorn Sumac Cautions
People who have very sensitive skin or severe allergies may have an allergic reaction to Staghorn Sumac. Other plants in this family, including mangoes and cashews, can also cause irritations and inflammation. There is a similar looking plant that is infamous as a skin irritant called poison sumac, It will give most people the same type of rash as poison ivy. The leaves look similar but poison sumac has green or white berries that hang down in bunches not red berries that go upward in a pyramidal cluster. Another minor concern for some people is that small grubs can also take up residence inside of the berry clusters of staghorn sumac.

The Staghorn Sumac Fruit
Despite these berries having a fuzzy look and feel, the Sumac fruit cluster is technically edible. But it is only really enjoyable when prepared properly. Sumac is used to make a drink called Indian Lemonade, referring to indigenous or Native Americans. The fruit ripens and becomes a maroon color from late summer to early fall. Once ripe and ready for consumption, use berries to add flavor to pies, or steep in cold or room temperature water. Avoid hot and boiling water to prevent bringing out the tannins and developing a bitter taste.

Ingredients
3-6 sumac berry clusters
8-12 cups cold water
Sweetener (honey, agave nectar, sugar, stevia, etc.)

Directions
1. Place berry clusters in plastic sandwich bag and crush slightly, if you prefer.
2. Add berries to pitcher.
3. Add water to berries and soak 8-16 hours.
4. Pour liquid into large bowl through coffee filter or layered cheese cloth to remove solids(including tiny hairs and pieces of stem).
5. Rinse pitcher and add strained tea back to pitcher.
6. Add sweetener of choice to taste and stir.
7. Enjoy.

Veggie Banana Leaf Tamales Recipe

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Features of Banana Leaves
The huge leaves of the banana plant are used in cooking and cultures all around the world. The deep roots of the Japanese banana plant manage to stay alive below the frost line, allowing the plant to live in cold climates. After each winter season the tree grows to full size again, an astonishing 10-15 feet by the end of the summer, with the leaves reaching up to 6 feet long and 18 inches wide. For more information on the hardy Japanese banana plant see our article.

Banana leaves are used around the world to wrap up meals and steam them inside the leaves. They are often used to steam fish with other veggies or spices, and often used to make different types of meat and veggie stuffed doughy meals. Mexican Tamales, South American Pasteles, Indian Idlis, Filipino Bibingka, and many more recipes use banana leaves.

Health Benefits of Banana Leaves
Banana leaves contain antioxidants found in many plants and green tea called polyphenols. So cooking your food in this manner infuses your meal with additional antioxidants, as well as imparting flavor.

Food cooked in banana leaves
(Photo By: Dr d12 / Wikimedia Commons)

Tamales Wrapped in Banana Leaves
Tamales wrapped in banana or plantain leaves is common cuisine in Mexico and Central America. It can be a very long and involved process, so it is often a social event where several dozens are made at a time. The vegetarian filling can be substituted with pulled pork, shredded chicken, chorizo or carnitas. This recipe makes about 12 tamales, but you can easily scale it up and freeze the extras, as tamales freeze well.

Ingredients
1 lb fresh hardy Japanese banana leaves

2 lbs vegetarian or non-vegetarian prepared masa

Chile Sauce:
3 pablano chiles
1 medium garlic clove
1/4 tsp ground clove
Ground pepper
Salt
1 tbsp olive oil

Vegetable Filling:
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 large carrot
1/2 red onion
4 medium garlic cloves
2 zucchinis
2 plum tomatoes
1 cup spinach leaves
Salt
12 oz Pepper Jack cheese

Directions
To prepare Banana Leaves:
1. Cut away thick edges of leaves.
2. Cut and remove central stem and rinse if using fresh leaves.
3. If leaves are brittle, carefully hold over lit gas burner or hot pan for a few seconds, until softened.
4. Dry leaves with towel or paper towels.
5. Cut leaves into 12 (8 inch x 10 inch) rectangles.
6. Cut extra leaves for steaming.
7. Set aside.

To prepare Chile Sauce:
1. Heat large sauté pan over medium heat.
2.Make a slit down the side of each chile using sharp knife.
3. Use tongs to open and place chiles open-side down in hot pan. Press with metal spatula for 10 seconds.
4. Turn over and cook another 15 seconds, until softened.
5. Add chiles and 1 1/2 cups warm water to blender.
6. Peel and add garlic, clove, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend 1-2 minutes, until smooth.
7. Pour blended chile sauce into sauté pan.
8. Heat pan over medium heat. Bring sauce to a simmer.
9. Add olive oil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
10. Remove from heat and set aside.

To prepare Vegetable Filling:
1. Add olive oil to extra large sauté pan. Heat over high heat.
2. Peel and chop garlic and onion. Chop carrots, zucchini and tomatoes.
3. Add garlic, onions and carrots to hot oil. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently with wooden spoon.
4. Add tomatoes and zucchini. Sauté for a 2 minutes.
5. Add spinach leaves and salt to taste. Stir until wilted, about 1 minute.
6. Remove from heat.
7. Add 1/2 cup chile sauce to pan.
8. Set aside.
9. Cut cheese into strips 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide.

To assemble Tamales:
1. Lay down cut banana leaf, lighter, smoother side up.
2. Place a 1/3 cup prepared masa in the center of leaf. Press down with palm or wide wooden spoon to lightly spread.
3. Add 3/4 teaspoon chili sauce over masa. Add cheese.
4. Add 1/3 cup sautéed vegetables.
5. Fold longer sides of banana leaf over, tucking one edge under the other. Fold shorter sides under tamale to make snug package.
6. Tie with kitchen string to secure.
7. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

To cook Tamales:
1. Place steamer rack or wire cooling rack in bottom of extra large stockpot with lid.
2. Add water to pot until it almost reaches but does not touch the rack.
3. Cover rack with extra banana leaves.
4. Place tamales on rack in single layer, then cover with layer of banana leaves.
5. Cover last layer of tamales with banana leaves. Cover pot with lid.
6. Heat over high heat to bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.
7. Cook for 45-60 minutes.
8. Use tongs to remove tamales. Use knife to cut kitchen string.
9. Carefully unwrap tamales from banana leaf.
10. Enjoy.



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Lion’s Mane Mushroom Recipe

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Lion’s mane mushroom strictly refers to Hericium erinaceus but other members of the genus Hericium are very similar and can be identified and used in the same ways. This is a genus of edible mushrooms that also have medicinal properties. These mushrooms are easy to identify and have a great unique flavor. Mushrooms in the genus Hericium are sometimes hard to find but they grow in much of north america and the world so it’s beneficial for all of us to be familiar with this unique genus. You can read more in our article featuring lion’s mane mushroom.

Improves digestive health
The plant has proven to be very useful in promoting digestive health. It allows the stomach and liver to function properly. It also protects the liver. It is effective against chronic gastritis, duodenal ulcers and gastric ulcers. Many patients have used it to relieve mental apathy (also called neurasthenia). Its use as a fortifying tonic for health has also paid off.

Useful as a dietary supplement
Today, the fungus shows its effectiveness in clinical use. Doctors recommend it as a dietary supplement. The reason is the positive effect on mood, brain health and memory. Scientific studies have shown that the fungus can increase neurotrophic activity. Stimulates the growth of nerve or brain cells, thereby increasing neurotrophic activity. This effect improves your reputation as a cerebral stimulant and antidepressant.

Reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol

Lion’s Mane Mushroom is known not only for medical purposes but also for lowering cholesterol. A unique and submerged fungal culture lowers cholesterol by about 32%. The same culture lowers LDL cholesterol by about 45.4%. It also reduces triglycerides by up to 34.3%. More importantly, it increases HDL cholesterol by about 31%, which is good cholesterol. Eliminate the bad and increase the good cholesterol.

The other health benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom include:
anticancer effects
treating ulcers
decreasing the levels of serum glucose while increasing serum insulin levels
healing wounds

Ingredients
1 cup chopped Lion’s mane mushrooms
1 tablespoon coconut oil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper

Method

1. Heat the coconut oil over medium heat in a small pan.
2. Once the coconut oil is warmed up, add the garlic powder and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Put the chopped Lion’s mane mushrooms in the pan and start cooking. The oil can be absorbed quickly by the mushrooms, that’s fine, do not add oil.
4. Season with salt and pepper, turn occasionally and stir to make sure all sides are cooked. Cook for about 10 minutes.
5. Enjoy

Many of our readers find that subscribing to Eat The Planet is the best way to make sure they don't miss any of our valuable information about wild edibles.

Subscribe to our mailing list




our facebook page for additional articles and updates.

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