Sumac, the berry of the sumac shrub, is generally used in a ground powder form. It has roots back to ancient Rome for medicinal purposes. It's very commonly used throughout the Middle East in countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Egypt, and Greece. A type of sumac is also grown in the US and was used by Native Americans as a refreshing drink. Sumac has a tart, fruity, citrus flavor sometimes compared to lemon, but it is less acidic and balanced by a soft sweetness. It does not overpower other flavors, but rather enhances them, and its deep red color brightens up any dish.
It has many uses including a tabletop condiment, sprinkled on salads, boiled eggs, vegetables, soups, and stews. Great on legumes, especially lentils, white beans, and chickpeas. Great with tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers. Delicious as a rub or in a marinade for chicken, fish, and meat. Can be used in place of lemon or vinegar in terms of flavor, although lemon and vinegar don’t serve as a good substitute for sumac. It has been said that once you try it, you will be surprised by how much you will come to rely on its bright flavors. And if you like sumac, you should check out our Zaatar.
Tips and Ideas
- Add Sumac to a salad vinaigrette
- Make a salad of diced sweet onions, tomatoes and/or cucumbers, sumac, and a little oil
- Top your favorite hummus with sumac
- Blend feta cheese with a small amount of either mayonnaise or Greek yogurt. Add a few drops of water if needed to blend. Stir in sumac. Great as a dip for roasted or grilled veggies.
- Add to rice, couscous, or quinoa just before serving to brighten up the flavors.
- Great sprinkled on chicken, fish, lamb, or other meat before baking, broiling, or grilling.
We do not grind Sumac in our Shop. Industry-wide, when Sumac is ground, salt is added to the grinding process.