Native Teas and Beverages
Sassafras Tea (Ga-Na-S-Da-Tsi)
Red Sassafras roots, Water
To make a tea, boil a few pieces of the root in water until it is the desired strength.
Sweeten with honey if desired. Serve hot or cold.
Traditional Way: Gather and wash the roots of the red sassafras.
Do this in the spring before the sap begins to rise.
Store for future use.
Some natural food stores carry sassafrass root in a dried form.
The "store bought" type works just as well.
Sassafras tea tastes like watered down rootbeer and is really very good.
Note: it is wise to dilute your sassafras tea by adding an equal portion of regular tea.
Too much sassafras tea or drinking strong sassafras tea can bowel upset.
Servings: approx. 1 quart
20 tender young sprigs of juniper, washed 2 qt. water
Place the sprigs and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat.
Let it simmer gently for 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the tea steep for another 10 minutes.
Strain and serve. May be sweetened with honey, if desired.
Wild Mint Tea
Servings: approx. 2 quarts
10 large stalks fresh mint, washed
2 qts. water
Place mint and water in a large sauce pan and bring slowly to a boil.
Turn off the heat, cover, and let the "tea" steep for 5 or more minutes (to desired strength).
Strain and serve. Sweeten with honey if desired.
Wild mint is not as strong as other, mints making this a very mildly flavored tea.
For those unaccustomed to mint teas, you can further dilute it by mixing 1 part mint tea and 1 part regular tea.
Servings: 1 quart
1 qt. water
2/3 cup honey
Place water and honey in a large container with a tight fitting lid.
Shake well to blend the two ingredients. Chill thoroughly and serve iced in small glasses.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Toss in some sumac berries, then let it come to a boil again.
Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes.
You can let it cool or drink it hot. No sweetening is needed.
"A good, refreshing drink. The berries should be picked in early September; even a few days after frost is okay. Bring them home.
Spread them out on a sheet in the sun or on newspapers on your floor to dry.
Do not use the leaves and do not let the tea boil longer than 10 minutes or it will become very bitter.... Delicious and refreshing!"
Spicewood Tea (Gv-Nv-S-Dv-Tli)
Small twigs of Spicewood
Boil twigs in water and serve hot. Sweeten if desired. Molasses or honey makes the best sweetening.
Gather spicewood twigs in the spring when the buds first appear.
Gather peppermint (the kind that grows along the branches).
Crush the leaves and pour boiling water over them. Strain the liquid and serve hot.
May be sweetened with honey if desired.
"Branches" are streams.
Hominy Corn Drink (Gv-No-He-Nv)
Corn, field dried or parched Wood ash lye Water
Shell the corn (if still on the cob), and soak the kernels in wood ash lye until the skin can be removed (slipped).
Remove from the lye and rinse with clear water. Drain.
Beat the corn in the corn beater (ko-no-na) until it is the size of hominy.
Sift the meal from the larger corn particles.
Cook the larger particles in water until they are done.
Thicken with a little meal.
Drink this hot or wait until it sours and drink it cold.
The drink may be kept for quite a while unless the weather is very hot.
This was a customary drink to serve to friends who dropped by for a visit.
The hominy referred to in this recipe is the equivalent of modern hominy grits.
NATIVE AMERICAN RECIPES