I discovered this amazing spice in Jordan. A very popular ingredient and widely used in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, sumac (sometimes spelled as “sumach”) is an amazing spice which is used to season not only fresh salads but also meat, fish and even hummus! It has a bit of a saltiness so you can actually use it instead of salt. Branded recently as a “black gold” due to its pretty dark purple color (sometimes it can be of a lighter brick red shade) and amazing health properties, it is a berry that grows on a wild bush.
Sumac is mostly used in its ground form it is rubbed into meats for grilling. It has a sour and fruity taste with a hint of citrus taste but without the acidity (!). Apparently, it had been used widely in Europe to add a sour taste to dishes but was replaced by lemons, which were introduced by the Romans.
Sumac goes well with any other spices and herbs and makes a delicious dressing. It is also a very good addition to vegetables and salads as well as sauces. It is often used in combination with freshly squeezed lemon juice or vinegar for seasoning purposes and is an amazing decoration for hummus and yoghurt-based dishes.
It is available online and can be easily purchased on Amazon. You can also buy sumac in many ethnic specialty stores. More and more stores in U.S. carry sumac in their spice section, too.
Sumac now constitutes an essential part of our diet and here are some reasons why I recommend you do the same:
- Antimicrobal: presence of methyl gallic acid, gallic acid and other compounds in sumac, make it a an effective remedy against many ailments. Sumac is believed to fight actively against even Salmonella.
- Antifungal: sumac contains powerful organic compounds, called xanthones, which have antifungal properties.
- Antioxidant: it is full of vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids, making it a great antioxidant and helps sumac to prevent strokes and cardiovascular disease as well as eliminate free radicals in the GI tract.
- Anti-inflammatory: sumac also has anti-inflammatory properties and is widely used as treatment for indigestion.
- Hypoglycemic properties: sumac helps people suffering from diabetes and/or obesity.
- Other benefits: reportedly, sumac also helps reduce fever, arthritis, skin inflammation, bladder problems.
So now when you know about sumac’s health benefits, why not spice up your salad, hummus or other dips with sumac and enjoy its tangy taste?