LDF Country Market recipe

LDF Country Market & GLITC Honoring Your Health recipe

This week, we offer this delicious Sumac Berry Ade recipe as part of our ongoing commitment to providing healthy recipes and insights for improved wellness. In collaboration with Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council (GLITC), the LDF Country Market offers up the following delicious recipe. Thank you to Kassy Garcia for sharing this recipe with us. She’s the nutrition educator of GLITC’s Family Nutrition Program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed).

SNAP-Ed provides nutrition education to food-share eligible or low-income participants. SNAP-Ed’s  focus is to be the first line of chronic illness and obesity prevention through direct or indirect nutrition education.

Sumac Berry Ade

Yields: 8 ½

Serving size: 1 ½ cup

Prep time: 15 minutes

Refrigeration time: 1 hour 

Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes



3 quarts cold water

3-4 clusters sumac

2/3 cups maple syrup

2 cups fresh or thawed blueberries

½ cup fresh or thawed blackberries

2 cups ice

Additional materials

Cheese cloth

Kitchen twine


  1. In a large container combine water and sumac. Rub sumac between hands to dislodge as much of the red coatings as possible, which is where the flavor comes from.
  2. Cover with a lid or towel and let sit in the refrigerator or a cool place for 45 minutes or until desired amount of flavor is reached.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine berries and smash with large spoon or potato masher.
  4. When sumac water has reached desired flavor, remove sumac clusters and discard.
  5. Use enough cheesecloth to make a bundle with the berries inside. Secure with twine.
  6. Holding bundle over sumac water, squeeze berries to release juices into the sumac water. Squeeze and wring bundle until juice stops flowing. Discard bundle.
  7. Cut a large enough piece of cheesecloth to cover the top of the pitcher with one to two inches over hanging. Secure cheesecloth over serving pitcher with twine.
  8. Pour sumac mixture through to remove any leftover sumac or berry pieces.
  9. Gently gather edges of cheesecloth and discard.
  10. Stir in maple syrup and serve over ice.


If using ground sumac use ¾ cup. Before buying ground sumac, check ingredient list for sugar or salt and avoid these mixes.

If you do not have cheesecloth or kitchen twine use a strainer for alternative.

Berries can be juices using a juicer and then added to sumac water.

The ripeness and sweetness of the berries play a big role in the outcome of this recipe. If the berries are under ripe, more maple syrup may need to be added. Stir in 2 tablespoons of maple syrup at a time, tasting as you go until a lightly sweetened lemonade flavor is reached. While maple syrup is a healthy alternative to sugar, its sill affects insulin levels and diabetes risk the same way, so think moderation when adding extra maple syrup.

Notice: Sumac (Rhus spp.) is related to cashews and mangoes. People who are allergic to cashews or mangoes may also be allergic to sumac. There is a poisonous sumac commonly knowns as poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix L.) the cluster of this sumac remain white and never turn red. The sumac that is safe to eat has clusters that turn dark red when they are ripe and ready for eating.


Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), Mino Wissinidaa! Let’s eat good! Traditional Foods for Healthy Living.