Along the Grapevine

Sumac Mead



Having successfully made and consumed mead this winter with a simple solution of roughly one part raw honey to five parts non-chlorinated water and allowing it to ferment for two to three weeks, I decided to try it with the sumac juice (pictured above). This juice was made by soaking staghorn sumac berries in water for a couple of hours and straining.


I used the juice in the same proportion to the honey and left it covered for three weeks stirring every few days, although it was quite good after two. The longer it is left, the better it is. Once it goes a little fizzy and tastes good, you know it’s ready to drink or store. With the sumac mead, I strained it before serving to remove any of the sediment.

If you haven’t tried fermenting before, mead is a great place to start. Nothing could be easier, and it makes a delicious wine substitute. I tried to measure the alcohol content, but haven’t figured out yet how to use my special thermometer for the purpose. Fellow drinkers have guessed it to be about 7%, but I can’t guarantee that.

I also have no way of knowing what the PA reading is. I just know it tastes fine – actually much better than fine. It is a tad sweeter than any wine I normally drink, but still light and dry enough to be enjoyed with dinner. The flavour of the sumac adds just a touch of tang to the sweetness of the honey.

I must have mentioned the health benefits of sumac in one or more of my previous posts on the subject, but it is worth noting that sumac has many vitamins and minerals including a good amount of Vitamin C. It also has  anti-fungal, anti oxidant and anit-inflammaroty properties. Given that it is in its raw state and fermented to boot, I think this might actually be classified as a health drink.


Perhaps after this experiment, I will have to try my hand at sumac wine, but this drink is so good I’m not sure it’s worth the trouble.


Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

9 thoughts on “Sumac Mead

  1. Wow!! As I said, your posts are so educative.


  2. I love mead! I can’t believe you made your own…with sumac juice. Amazing. You really are a talent. I’d love to see what this tastes like!


  3. Fascinating – thanks for sharing 🙂


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  8. Hey there how are you? I have been thinking of trying something like this as kind of a hobby I have always had a bit of a fascination with sumac I’ve even considered cultivating my own I thought my mother might want some for her garden in Newfoundland I’m not sure if it grows there but it would look wonderful in her backyard, kind of looks like a little forest oasis so if I could figure out how to propagate it I could bring a little gift when I finally go to visit. It would look nice in our backyard and there’s so much you can do with it; I tried making sumac tea, it was better than most juices I’ve tasted when I seen your post on mead I thought “what a genius idea!” Apparently it can be ground into flower. I wonder if it can be used in breads? My grandmother is from Portugal and she makes a sweet bread called “mossa” Maybe I can alter her recipe a little bit and make my own Canadian version😂


    • Thanks for the comment on sumac and glad you are interested in cooking with it. To plant sumac, it would probably be easiest to take a shoot from existing plants. They put out many of them and they are easy to separate from the main plant. Otherwise a few seeds would do the trick. I dry, grind and sift the flowers to make a spice which you could certainly use in bread but not instead of flour, just as a flavouring, like ground cinnamon. Hope you enjoy your mead!


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