Sumac has a citrus taste similar to, but more complex than lemon or lime. My grandmother used to make sumac drink with just water, sugar, whole sumac berry bundles and the sun. This recipe is a more sophisticated take on a traditional Cherokee recipe.
Peaches, called qua-na, in Cherokee, have been an integral part of Cherokee cooking since at least the 1600's. July is peach season. This simple dessert combines sugar, cinnamon, butter and peaches into caramelized goodness.
Chutneys are part sweet and part savory. This recipe combines huckleberry sweetness, the heat of crushed red pepper and the bright spicy notes of ginger into a delicious and versatile reduction that can be used like jam on bread, as stuffing for chicken breasts or as a sauce for venison, rabbit or pork.
Granita, or Italian Ice, is a simple and delicious dessert made with only 4 ingredients. One of them is often the traditional, beloved Cherokee fruit, strawberries. June is strawberry season. Use locally grown strawberries or pick-yourself strawberries for the best flavor. Large supermarket strawberries have only a hint of strawberry flavor and often have a grainy texture because their natural sugar transforms to starch as soon as they are picked.
Allium tricoccum (commonly known as ramps, wild leek, wood leek, and wild garlic is a North American species of wild onion. They have a very unique scent that’s a cross between garlic and leeks. Some people confuse ramps for leeks, but this coveted spring gem is even greater than a leek. It’s a perennial wild onion that has to be foraged.
This traditional Cherokee recipe, whether you call it polenta, grits or corn mush, is delicious, simple and versatile. Served warm it is creamy goodness. Allowed to cool, it can be sliced and then fried or grilled to be used as a platform for other ingredients or for a new, old take, on french fries. Use flint corn meal if you can find it.
A fish fry on the creek bank with cornmeal battered, just-caught fish and homemade hush puppies. It doesn't get much more summer than this. Hush puppies don’t need much to be great. Just cornmeal, a little onion, a touch of butter and some hot oil.