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Sumac: A Versatile Middle Eastern Condiments

Updated: Jan 5


FUN Sesames Middle Eastern Condiments: Sumac
Sumac

Popular Mediterranean and Middle Eastern condiments include Sumac. Additionally, it is employed therapeutically in the profession of herbal medicine.

Sumac comes from the Arabic "summaq," which means "dark red." It is a crimson red, astringent spice popular in Middle Eastern cooking. It's made from the Rhus Coriaria shrub's berry fruit, initially grown in parts of the Mediterranean basin, then spread to Europe. The berries are dried, ground, and sifted to get rid of the bitter inner seed. The coarse, crimson-colored powder is then bottled as a spice for cooking.



5 Sumac Spice Health Benefits

Most people probably know Sumac best as a spice. It has also been utilized for millennia in conventional herbal medicinal methods.

There is a shortage of empirical data regarding the effects of Sumac on humans. However, a preliminary study indicates it might have positive health effects.



Aids in Digestion

Common digestive ailments, including stomach discomfort, acid reflux, constipation, feverish feelings, and irregular bowel movements, can all be helped by the herb sumac. It is reported to have both antioxidant and antibacterial properties.



Boosts heart health

Thyme supplementation increases the concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids and docosahexaenoic acid in the heart, kidney, and brain cell tissue. Other studies on the effects of thyme on brain cells discovered that it caused significant changes in the brain development of rats under investigation. However, research is still being conducted to determine whether Sumac positively affects the brain.



Fight with Cancer

The sumac plant possesses anti-cancer qualities, according to several studies. If you smoke, combining chemotherapy and radiation therapy may lower your chance of developing lung cancer. According to theory, breast cancer shields healthy cells from the effects of treatment. In light of this, Sumac has gained a reputation as a prospective chemotherapeutic agent.



Powerful Antioxidant

Potent antioxidants found in sumac fight off harmful cells that harm healthy cells. A research study claims that antioxidants fight against unhealthy cells that cause heart illnesses, premature aging, gastrointestinal disorders, and many other undesirable events.



Beneficial For Women's Health

Women's health issues traditionally have been treated with sumac juice, tea, and bark. Sumac is additionally used topically in cases of severe vaginal discharge. Mother's milk production also rises. It works like estrogen to treat menstruation problems, cramping, menstrual burns, and discomfort.

FUN Sesames Middle Eastern Condiments Sumac

What does sumac taste like?


Sumac has a long history of use as a flavoring agent, particularly in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. Most notably, Sumac is one of the distinctive components in zaatar, a blend of Sumac with other herbs and spices. Traditional zaatar recipes may vary from family to family, but my Foraged Flavor version asks for equal parts sesame seeds, wild Sumac, and thyme. Zaatar is a spice that Lebanese people use to season everything from flatbread to eggs, potato salad, and even tart yogurt. My daughters sprinkle zaatar on top of avocados and porridge. We're having a Zaatar rage.


The most significant way to bring brightness until the last bite is to sprinkle it on foods like fried eggs, baba ganoush, tomato, feta salad, or this anti-inflammatory broccoli soup. To add taste and improve nutrition, it can also be added to roasted vegetables like cauliflower, sweet potatoes, eggplant, carrots, chicken, or fish.



How do you use Sumac in cooking?


Sumac is most frequently used as a spice. Like many other culinary spices, Sumac can improve the taste and appearance of a range of foods. It is widespread in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines.


It has a deep crimson hue, a scent reminiscent of citrus fruits, and a distinctive sour flavor resembling lemon juice. Sumac lemonade is a sweet-sour beverage that is occasionally made with it.


When dried and ground, Sumac has a coarse, gritty texture. Ground sumac is great for adding acidity, brightness, and color to many dishes, including grilled meats and vegetables, grains, baked goods, and desserts.

People frequently use it to enhance the flavor of spice rubs, sauces, and dressings. It's a key ingredient in the classic Mediterranean seasoning blend known as za'atar.


FUN Sesames Middle Eastern Condiments Sumac

Facts about Sumac

  • Young fruits are used to make capers.

  • One of the main components of "Zaatar," a standard spice blend used in the Middle East, is crushed fruit combined with Origanum Syriacum.

  • Similar to mustard, the seed is served as an appetizer.

  • Rhus Coriaria fruit drupes are powdered into a reddish-purple spice that is used in Middle Eastern cooking to give meat or salads a tart, lemony flavor.

  • Seeds and immature fruits are also consumed.

  • In Anatolia and Kurdistan, many traditional cuisines utilize seeds and fruits as spices and flavorings.


Overall, Sumac is an essential natural resource that people worldwide have used for centuries. So, if you want to add extra flavor to your food, consider using a Middle Eastern condiment, including Sumac. You must try Sumac in your recipes because it is a great way to brighten up your weekly menu, enhance any dish, and make it even more delicious. Try it on your next dish!


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