1 lb bag $9.75
Although ground sumac has been flavoring food for thousands of years, especially in the Middle East, its sour tang strikes Western palates as unique: reminiscent of lemon juice, but not quite. Sumac comes across as more balanced, with a hint of apple—all without a drop of juice, which can be unwelcome in certain recipes. Like salt, sumac accentuates other food flavors. Middle Eastern cooks often use the spice in meat rubs and marinades, because its acidity cuts the gamey taste of goat and lamb. But sumac is hardly limited to entrées. It lends a tart zip to salads, vegetable sides and rice. Its deep red color also adds visual appeal when used as a top dressing, much like paprika. Consider sprinkling it on popcorn (capitalizing on the popularity of vinegar and salt flavorings in snacks), using it instead of vinegar for salad dressings or even adding it to a bloody Mary.
The spice comes from the dried red fruit (drupes) of the sumac shrub, native to temperate and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa and North America. The primary source is Sicilian sumac (Rhus coriaria). Many sumac siblings, including the staghorn and smooth sumac that grow wild in North America, also have edible drupes, with a long history of culinary and medicinal uses. None of the edible variants have anything to do with poison sumac, which actually belongs to another plant genus (Toxicodendron vernix) and has white, not red fruit. Indeed, “real” sumac derives its name from the ancient Aramaic word for “dark red.”
Down through the ages, healers have valued sumac for its antiseptic and diuretic properties. Modern science suggests the spice can lower bad cholesterol, balance blood sugar, retard bone loss and ease muscle pains.
Mount Hope Wholesale offers our ground sumac in bulk, in 1-pound bags.