Foraging Wild Shoots: Smooth Sumac

A lot of people are familiar with using sumac berries to make a lemonade-type drink, but what many people don't know is that you can also eat the tender shoots of this plant.

The process is simple and fun. The hardest part is locating a stand of small trees. While out for a walk in Wrentham last week, I came across a nice colony of Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra). The stand had lots of fresh new growth, so I decided to pause for a snack. Using the bend test, I snapped off a few tender growing shoots. Then I removed the leaves, peeled off the thin green bark, and ate them on the spot.

I find they taste reminiscent of melon or plum, though the flavor can vary. Overall, a nice crunch and a welcome June trail treat.

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