Buy Sumac! With a flavor reminiscent of citrus or dried unripe grapes, Sumac is a spice made from the ground dried berries of the Sumac shrub and is a natural antioxidant with high levels of Vitamin C. This spice is popular in Mediterranean, North African, and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Suggestions: When you Buy Sumac, enjoy in rice, on fish or lamb, brewed with sugar and/or water to make ice tea. Try with M’hamsa Couscous by Les Moulins Mahjoub to add a fruity taste.
Sumac is any one of about 35 species of flowering plants in the genus Rhus and related genera, in the family Anacardiaceae. The dried and powdered fruits are used as a spice in Middle Eastern cuisine. Sumacs grow in subtropical and temperate regions throughout the world, especially in East Asia, Africa, and North America.
Sumacs are shrubs and small trees. The leaves are spirally arranged; they are usually pinnately compound, though some species have trifoliate or simple leaves. The flowers are in dense panicles or spikes, each flower very small, greenish, creamy white, or red, with five petals. The fruits form dense clusters of reddish drupes called sumac bobs. The dried drupes of some species are ground to produce a tangy crimson spice.
Sumacs propagate both by seed (spread by birds and other animals through their droppings) and by new shoots from rhizomes, forming large clonal colonies.
The fruits (drupes) of the genus Rhus are ground into a reddish-purple powder used as a spice in Middle Eastern cuisine to add a tart, lemony taste to salads or meat. In Arab cuisine, it is used as a garnish on meze dishes such as hummus and tashi and is added to salads in the Levant. In Iranian, Afghan, and Kurdish cuisines, sumac is added to rice or kebab. In Jordanian and Turkish cuisines, it is added to salad-servings of kebab and lahmajoun. Rhus coriaria is used in the spice mixture za’atar.
In North America, the smooth and staghorn sumacs are sometimes used to make a beverage termed “sumac-ade,” “Indian lemonade,” or “rhus juice.” This drink is made by soaking the drupes in cool water, rubbing them to extract the essence, straining the liquid through a cotton cloth, and sweetening it. Native Americans also use the leaves and drupes of the smooth and staghorn sumacs combined with tobacco in traditional smoking mixtures.