Start Using Sumac
In America, “sumac” often carries an association with “poison.” But this underappreciated spice made from ground, ruby red berries is the furthest thing from poison.
Sumac has been used for centuries in the Middle East, where its souring properties add a depth of flavor not unlike the use of lemon juice or vinegar in a dish.
Sumac is the secret ingredient in many of your favorite Middle Eastern dishes, including salads, kebabs, and rice dishes. Its deep color makes it a perfect finish to dips and vegetable dishes. Sumac is also featured as the primary element in the famous za’atar spice mixture of oregano, thyme, marjoram, sesame seeds, and of course, sumac.
When using sumac, start by thinking of it as a replacement for lemon juice or zest. It works well in salads, hummus, and marinades. Sumac pairs particularly well with mint, so add both to marinades for grilled meat or in dressings for herb salads.
Tumeric has in recent years become popular for its anti-inflammatory properties. Sumac is in the same league, packed with antioxidants and the ability to fight the free radicals shown to increase cancer risk and heart disease.
So, as this fresh grilling season is upon us (and all the delicious farm-fresh veggies that go with the season), do your tastebuds and joints a favor and get yourself some sumac at the grocery store. It can be found in the Middle Eastern aisle at most stores in the Forest City.