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Re: hi! how about extracting oils from sumac?

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  • deb
    Simple as pie! Simpler!! Take cool to lukewarm water and the cones of staghorn (typhina) or smooth (glabra) sumac. I use Staghorn, since that is what is
    Message 1 of 10 , Nov 4, 2005
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      Simple as pie! Simpler!! <G>

      Take cool to lukewarm water and the cones of staghorn (typhina) or smooth (glabra)
      sumac. I use Staghorn, since that is what is most prevalent here in SC Iowa. Set the
      sumac berries the water for a few minutes, then swish them for a minute or so more.
      Keep doing this with fresh cones until the water is a lovely pink-red color. When I am
      preserving for winter use, I make it quite strong; not stopping until I have a deep color
      and the juice is quite strong. This I freeze in ice cube trays, then place the cubes in
      ziploc bags for long-term storage. I can then take a cube or two out, place in warm
      water to a medium pink color, and use for tea flavoring, for dipping apples and other
      fruets in, whatever.

      We have a *lot* of staghorn sumac around here. On the 2000, acres I have forage access
      to, it's quite easy for me to collect 20 pounds or so of berries and not make a dent in the
      supply- I follow the 1:7, 5% rule of foraging and wildcrafting.

      I truly feel the sumac to be so useful in so many ways, that the oil production aspect is
      just not the best use of it. To give a bit of reason I feel this way, will enclose a plant talk I
      did for a yahoogroup I co-own, a year or two ago. Please understand these plant talks
      are not for publishing, only for information; so forgive my casual use of the Engilsh
      language- or, should I say, my massacre of it. I really adore this plant! <G> deb

      Oh, BTW- since writing this, I have, indeed, met someone who says he does have a bad
      reaction to the fresh sap of staghorn (typhina) sumac. Nothing serious, just a
      inconvenience and a couple of days of itching with a mild redness. He also gets real live
      welts from stinging nettle and is careful about the detergents he washes his clothes in,
      so I suspect his threshold for contact dermatitis is quite low.

      Hope this helps! deb
      *******************************************

      Sumac

      Botanical Names (not at all exhaustive):
      Rhus glabra (Smooth Sumac)
      Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)
      These two are the focus of this article.

      Rhus micophylla (Desert Sumac)
      Rhus aromitaca (Fragrant , or Sweet, Sumac)

      Rhus toxicodendron (Poison Sumac)
      This botanical name is in flux.

      Native to the U.S.
      Range of varying types extends across the continental U.S., and worldwide.

      Is a relative of the cashew, pistachio, and mango.

      As far as I can find, the name comes from the Aramaic, "summaq", meaning "dark red".

      Rates 4 in the PFaF index.

      Grows in waste areas, disturbed land, along wood edges, in full sun or partial, dappled
      shade. Is tolerant of all kinds of soils, but really shines when you see it grow in what one
      might normally consider poor soil for anything else. Personally, I see it most often at
      wood edges and in dapple-sunlight conditions, usually with eastern exposure. There is
      a whole bank at a nearby preserve, that is in full sun, eastern exposure, with a backdrop
      of locust and juniper trees: is an incredible view in the autumn. Have wanted to take
      pics, but that's when he has hunters, and I just haven't been brave enough to go there at
      peak pic-and-critter hunting times. <G> Just call me ChickenDeb!

      If one has bad soil, but wants good looking greenery and interest while building the soil,
      this is a great shrub to use.

      Aside from tender new growth, this is a frost-hardy plant. Around here, the shrubs go
      through times of temps to -10* or below, and wind chills even lower. Drought, pest, and
      disease resistant. A lovely plant for year round beauty , and fits in well with natural
      landscaping plans. Fast growing. Absolutely one of my personal tippy-top favorite
      plants; for it's beauty, and it's usefulness.

      The leaves are lush and exotic looking, and turn brilliant shades of red in the fall. When
      combined with the orange to red coneshaped seedheads, it's a striking, and beautiful
      sight. In winter, the stems are one of Mom Earths neatest works of living sculpture. The
      crowning touch is seeing a cardinal, jay, quail, (or in my case, a released chukar),
      perched on one in winter, plucking seeds and hollering at interlopers.

      As an inside-border or stand-alone shrub in a natural landscaping scheme, or for use as
      natural hedging, I just can't imagine one going wrong in using it. It attracts plenty of
      feathered and furred creatures.

      It's a dioecious plant. The shrub will form stands from roots, the stand will be all one
      gender. If one wants seeds, there must be both male and female plants. The female
      forms those lovely seedheads.

      Pics:
      http://tinyurl.com/3yngt
      http://tinyurl.com/ys6j2
      http://tinyurl.com/2w47b
      http://tinyurl.com/373gr

      Pic of Poison Sumac: Notice those white berries and lack of conical shape in seedhead!!
      http://tinyurl.com/2l64n

      Sumac has a long history of use with the Native Americans, for food, medicine, dye, and
      hardgoods. I used stems to teach kids how to make beads, it's just about perfect for
      this.

      A few words of Caution:
      It seems some people have a sensitivity to sumac sap, and may experience a mild
      rash upon contact. I personally have never experienced this, nor do I know of anyone
      who has, (including lots of kids) but there is some mention in the literature of it.
      Something for those with delicate skin to me mindful of.

      Also, one must be sure, if using the berries, to use only those that have a hairy
      covering on them. The types of sumac with smooth berries are not to be used. Do not
      use any plants with white berries, either. That is the infamous "poison sumac", and you
      want to give it a wide berth!

      I will mention the medicinal uses only for interest. I would **Not** advise one using the
      plant medicinally, with one exception, unless one is well experienced both in medicinal
      use of herbs in general, and especially use of sumac, specifically. As with any medicine,
      herbal, allopathic, or other: it needs intelligence and smarts to be utilized.

      The only exception would be using the bark, dry or in decoction, topically, for old sores
      and ulcers: or as an emergency antiseptic or styptic- again, only topically and externally.

      Uses for Food:
      The berries are collected on a dry day. A good rule of thumb being you want the hairs on
      the seeds to be quite visible and dry.

      I think many folk are aquainted with the use of sumac berries for "lemonade" drinks. One
      should not use very hot water, as this will release too much of the tannic acid, making it
      unpalatable. Swish or soak the berries in warm or cool water, and use that. Once you
      have done this, though, you may then safely heat the resultant liquid for drinking as a
      hot beverage, or for use in jellies and such. I will have a big pot of cool water, and just
      keep swishing new seedheads in it, making a nicely potent liquid. BTW, I also have used
      it in a pinch when cutting apples or other fruits that brown, when out of lemon juice.
      Works great, and if the juice is used full strength, will give a pretty pink color, to boot.

      I have asked permission from a lady in another group to use some recipes she posted
      there, sure hope it's forthcoming! I can hardly wait to try one especially, a chicken dish!!
      <G>. If I get said permission, will post the recipes toot sweet.

      The berries may be dried and used as a flavoring for foods, such as in a salad, on top of
      wilted greens, sprinkled on about anything you'd like some tang to.

      In Jordan, a spice mixture,called zahtar, is used: it is made of local type of marjoram (or
      a blend of marjoram, thyme, and oregano), sesame seeds, dried sumac berries, some
      salt and pepper. This is used on meats, especially. May also be blended in olive oil and
      used for a bread dip or condiment. Even though the local zahtar uses Rhus coriaria,
      both smooth and staghorn sumac may be substituted. After the seeds are dried, just rub
      them through a strainer gently to remove flesh from seed.

      Uses for Medicine:

      Astringent, antiseptic, tonic. Bark is used as topical antiseptic and styptic.

      Currently, research is showing great promise in use of it's antioxidant properties,
      including as a preservative for oils. This makes sense to me!

      The juice from berries is astringent, refrigerant, and mildly diuretic. I use the seed juice
      quite a bit, with no bad effect. Love the stuff, actually!

      Berry juice may be used in syrups, and decoctions of the bark have been used for most
      applications where strong astringent action is desired: hemorrhoids, diarrhea,
      leucorrhea, dysentery.

      Most of the uses of bark, root, and leaves are about the same. As I said earlier, I would
      advise against using it medicinally unless you know exactly what you are doing. For that
      reason, I will not go into detail in this area.

      Other uses:

      The leaves contain plenty of tannic acid, is used for tanning leather.

      The oil from the seeds may be used for candles. However, I tried this once, and found it
      took a *lot* of seeds, was labor-intensive, and the smell of the one (small) candle I made
      to be- well, not pleasant. Nice to know for dire emergency things, but not something I
      would do as a matter of course.

      All parts of the plant may be used for dye: The berries give a red to black color, the
      leaves shades of brown to black (and they may also be used as mordant), the roots ditto.
      In Plants for a Future, it states the roots harvested in spring will give a yellow dye, and
      yellow dye also may be made from stem pulp. That's good to know, since when making
      beads, one removes the pulp,or pith, of the stem. I will certainly try this out the next
      time I do beadmaking.

      For beadmaking, the stems are great. If one removes the bark right away, the wood is a
      white to cream color. If one leaves the bark on to dry, the wood takes on a greybrown
      hue. Use a piece of wire or knitting needle to push the pith out: then dry, cut, sand,
      paint, stain, whatever. Great craft for kids, I used this often when babysitting, and know
      it saved children's lives and my sanity-as it were- more than once.

      I have used the stems, in all sizes and lengths, for various decorative things. A thickish
      stem, hollowed, I used to insert the stems of ornamental grasses and flowers into for a
      dry arrangement: smaller stems for a bit of structural interest by themselves, and a
      large branch that had broken off a bush I used "as is", as a sort of land-locked
      driftwood.

      Strips of wood have been used in basketmaking.

      The sap from the broken stems is gummy will harden to a sort of glue. If you think you
      might have any sensibility to the sap, as mentioned above, you might want to wear
      gloves, or buy Elmer's. <G> I have to say though, I personally have neither had, nor
      seen, any bad effects from handling any part of sumac.

      Hollowed, dried stems may be used for flutes, whistles, for tapping maples, any place a
      lightweight, pretty much pre-hollowed wood might be used. Personally, I love the look of
      it. Crosssections of stems I have used in collage and natural type decorations. A bit of
      sealing with polyurethane protects and sheens it well, but I hardly ever bother.

      Seed Saving and Propagation:

      {Since I have only propagated so far from roots, suckers, and cuttings, I have to depend
      wholly on other sources for this information. The following comes from the Plants For a
      Future website}

      Collect fruit when full, and either clean pulp or dry with pulp still on. Best stored in the
      refrigerator.

      You can also plant seeds out in a cold frame. Soak them in hottish water, allowing it to
      cool. Soak for 24 hours, and plant. The soak water may be used for the famous
      lemonade/juice.

      If stored, Seeds will need scarification before 30 days of stratification at 35-40*F.Plant
      1/3" deep. Scarification is best done by acid means, to more closely imitate the actions
      of bird digestive systems.

      {We have in our membership, a man who grows and propagates native plants, and sells
      same. I don't want to put him on the spot by asking him by name but a note to him: if
      you would be willing to share better information and experience with us, I'd be grateful!}

      I have always propagated by root division, "sucker stealing", and cuttings. Taking root
      cuttings during early winter dormancy and putting in damp sand or small nursery plot,
      and mulching heavily in the latter instance. The young shoots are frost tender, so will
      need some protection. If putiing in damp sand, just plant out after last frost date.

      I take cuttings about any time the plant is actively growing, and those have been quite
      successful for me.

      To be frank, sucker stealing and cuttings have been my norm for propagation. Both are
      easy as pie, and can be done without braving the cold. {;) The seeds I use for other
      things, or leave for the critters to eat.

      Sources:

      PFaF website
      NatureOne
      VT Dendrologywebsite
      Pubmed
      Mann's Woodworking website
      LadyBird Johnson Native Plant Information website
      Michael Moore, "Medicinal Plants of the Northwest"
      Krochmal and Krochmal, "Medicinal Plants of the United States"
      Elpel, "Botany in a Day"
      King, "American Dispensary"
      Grieves, "A Modern Herbal"

      Long appreciation and play.


      Thank you for your time. deb

      --- Geir Flatabø <geirf@...> wrote:

      > And the reciepe for the sumac "berry juice" is
      > ????
      > - and whichs species are you writing about - the
      > Rhus typhina ??
      >
      > Geir Flatabø
    • loveragehop
      hey deb, thanks alot for all the info! im still going to give making the candle a shot but at least now i know what im getting into. i also read your posts
      Message 2 of 10 , Nov 4, 2005
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        hey deb, thanks alot for all the info!

        im still going to give making the candle a shot but at least now i
        know what im getting into.

        i also read your posts about its edible uses and really want to try. i
        also heard somewhere that you gotta strain the hairs from the
        lemonade. is that true? and is it too late in the year for using
        them? how do you know if the berries are still ok. (they always seem
        the same just dryer) i live in MAss, near ALOT of sumac so yeah... it
        should be sweet

        aright thanks again
        lnr
      • Geir Flatabø
        Nice ! Do you know anything about if the berries have to be seeded !? Here there is only growing a few planted bushes, pure female clones, any knowledge
        Message 3 of 10 , Nov 4, 2005
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          Nice !
          Do you know anything about if the "berries" have to be "seeded" !?
          Here there is only growing a few planted bushes, pure female clones,
          any knowledge if tehy are as good as pollinated "stags" - berries ??

          Geir Flatabø

          deb skrev:

          >Simple as pie! Simpler!! <G>
          >
          >Take cool to lukewarm water and the cones of staghorn (typhina) or smooth (glabra)
          >sumac. I use Staghorn, since that is what is most prevalent here in SC Iowa. Set the
          >sumac berries the water for a few minutes, then swish them for a minute or so more.
          >Keep doing this with fresh cones until the water is a lovely pink-red color. When I am
          >preserving for winter use, I make it quite strong; not stopping until I have a deep color
          >and the juice is quite strong. This I freeze in ice cube trays, then place the cubes in
          >ziploc bags for long-term storage. I can then take a cube or two out, place in warm
          >water to a medium pink color, and use for tea flavoring, for dipping apples and other
          >fruets in, whatever.
          >
          >
          >
        • deb
          I usually strain through a couple of layers of good cheesecloth, but the rodents got to my stash, and I didn t notice until I pulled it out for use. Didn t
          Message 4 of 10 , Nov 4, 2005
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            I usually strain through a couple of layers of good cheesecloth, but the rodents got to
            my stash, and I didn't notice until I pulled it out for use. Didn't have time to go to
            town, so grabbed a coffee filter. Worked great. I strain all juices and such, mostly out
            of habit, though. I, too, had heard it was necessary to strain any hair out, but aside
            from the ickypoo factor of drinking "hairy lemonade", don't know why.

            The berries only get drier, especially if you have been having a dry spell as we have.
            no worries about mold or spoilage, especially. It might require more bulk to get
            results. Myself, if I were to get to them too late and find very dry, I wuld just seed
            them and use them for the dressings and "pulp" utilization, and give planting the
            seeds out a try. After all, Mom Nature has already done the drying for you, you're a
            step ahead. {;) However, remember that any dried fruit, from Juniper to raisin to date,
            will reconstitute right up if soaked in water, and since that is what you are doing
            when making the sumacade, I don't see why not. Heck, give 'er a shot with a small
            batch, and please let us know how it turns out!

            Matter of fact, am going out to get some Butterfly Milkweed this weekend, and in
            "spotting" the plants I had marked earlier for propagation, found a whole new stand
            of sumac, both adult and young plants, and plenty of 'em. Will be gathering the older,
            drier seed, and will go ahead and give the "dry sumacade" a try myself. Plus, will be
            able to gather some more good stems for crafts- Love The Fall!!

            Can sure understand making the candle anyway- sometimes, one just *has* to give a
            thing the old college try! <G> deb



            --- In pfaf@yahoogroups.com, "loveragehop" <runningwithsteff@h...> wrote:
            >
            > hey deb, thanks alot for all the info!
            >
            > im still going to give making the candle a shot but at least now i
            > know what im getting into.
            >
            > i also read your posts about its edible uses and really want to try. i
            > also heard somewhere that you gotta strain the hairs from the
            > lemonade. is that true? and is it too late in the year for using
            > them? how do you know if the berries are still ok. (they always seem
            > the same just dryer) i live in MAss, near ALOT of sumac so yeah... it
            > should be sweet
            >
            > aright thanks again
            > lnr
            >
          • deb
            I m a bit confused by your question of clone v. pollinated . Are you speaking of plants propagated by cutting, rootings, or such? As in not from seed ?
            Message 5 of 10 , Nov 4, 2005
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              I'm a bit confused by your question of "clone v. pollinated". Are you speaking of plants
              propagated by cutting, rootings, or such? As in "not from seed"? Those are my usual
              ways of propagating sumac, which is, essentially, cloning. The cutting will be the same
              gender as the parent plant. Not a problem! The berries, no matter the genesis of the
              plant- are produced via pollination. Not a wit of difference in the berries unless the
              parent plants or the current plants have another issue not related- such as being in less
              than optimum climate, being of whimpy constitution, or such. No worries. <G>

              You don't have to do a thing but rinse off in a bit of cool or cold water if you are making
              sumacade, just to get the dust off. I never harvest edibles within 100 yards of any roads,
              RR tracks, or other such things, to avoid exhaust and other yukoid toxins. I also like to
              go deep into the prairie, on the far side of hedgerows or woods, or stick on the south
              side of roads, no matter how far away, since during growing season here the prevalent
              winds are from the south.

              If you suspect pesticide or other icky chemicals being used in proximity to your harvest,
              you can soak in a solution of one teaspoon bleach to a gallon of water for about 10
              minutes, rinse, then use. Alternately, a peroxide solution or some sal suds. However,
              since you want all the soaking to be for production of good usable solution, I'd opt for
              simply getting the stuff from a "clean" area in the first place.

              If you are using the berries for the pulp, then yes, you want to seed them. Simply
              rubbing them in a strainer will do the trick. For me, it's easier done when the berries are
              already dried, as opposed to full moisture content. HTH! deb

              --- In pfaf@yahoogroups.com, Geir Flatabø <geirf@u...> wrote:
              >
              > Nice !
              > Do you know anything about if the "berries" have to be "seeded" !?
              > Here there is only growing a few planted bushes, pure female clones,
              > any knowledge if tehy are as good as pollinated "stags" - berries ??
              >
              > Geir Flatabø
              >
              > deb skrev:
              >
              > >Simple as pie! Simpler!! <G>
              > >
              > >Take cool to lukewarm water and the cones of staghorn (typhina) or smooth (glabra)
              > >sumac. I use Staghorn, since that is what is most prevalent here in SC Iowa. Set the
              > >sumac berries the water for a few minutes, then swish them for a minute or so
              more.
              > >Keep doing this with fresh cones until the water is a lovely pink-red color. When I am
              > >preserving for winter use, I make it quite strong; not stopping until I have a deep
              color
              > >and the juice is quite strong. This I freeze in ice cube trays, then place the cubes in
              > >ziploc bags for long-term storage. I can then take a cube or two out, place in warm
              > >water to a medium pink color, and use for tea flavoring, for dipping apples and other
              > >fruets in, whatever.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
            • Geir Flatabø
              ... And for what do you use / or get the Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca or A. tuberosa) ?? ... And what was the dry sumacade ?? Geir Flatabø
              Message 6 of 10 , Nov 10, 2005
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                deb skrev:

                >Matter of fact, am going out to get some Butterfly Milkweed this weekend, and in
                >"spotting" the plants I had marked earlier for propagation,
                >
                And for what do you use / or get the Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias
                syriaca or A. tuberosa) ??

                > will go ahead and give the "dry sumacade" a try myself. deb
                >
                >
                And what was the "dry sumacade" ??

                Geir Flatabø

                >
                >
              • deb
                I propagate/ wildgarden many plants that are endangered or at risk, Butterfly Milkweed is one of them. I also wildgarden Echincacea, black and blue cohosh,
                Message 7 of 10 , Nov 21, 2005
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                  I propagate/"wildgarden" many plants that are endangered or at risk,
                  Butterfly Milkweed is one of them. I also wildgarden Echincacea, black
                  and blue cohosh, ginseng... the "Herb of the Hour" and other plants
                  that are being put at risk due to overharvesting, loss ob habitat,
                  pollution, etc.

                  Although it is used medicinally, it is at risk in this area (south
                  central Iowa). There are other plants that fulfill the same medicinal
                  niches, that are far more plentiful. For that reason, I only propagate
                  to help restore the wild populations, not to harvest for use.

                  The "dry sumacade" in is reference to the post about having berries
                  that were dry on the bush- and she was questioning whether they could
                  be used. Unfortunately, we had poachers to handle, and I ended up
                  having my wildcraft/forage time cut quite short while trying to get
                  them handled and arrested. deb



                  --- In pfaf@yahoogroups.com, Geir Flatabø <geirf@u...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > deb skrev:
                  >
                  > >Matter of fact, am going out to get some Butterfly Milkweed this
                  weekend, and in
                  > >"spotting" the plants I had marked earlier for propagation,
                  > >
                  > And for what do you use / or get the Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias
                  > syriaca or A. tuberosa) ??
                  >
                  > > will go ahead and give the "dry sumacade" a try myself. deb
                  > >
                  > >
                  > And what was the "dry sumacade" ??
                  >
                  > Geir Flatabø
                  >
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
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