Saturday, January 23, 2010

Spice lesson 1 - Sumac

SUMAC (pronounced /ˈʃuːmæk/ or /ˈs(j)uːmæk/; also spelled sumach) is a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean spice dark red or burgundy in colour. It comes from the berries of a wild bush commonly found in subtropical climates. This is one underrated delicious spice it not only adds brightness in flavor but also possesses medicinal qualities. Sumac is known to relieve upset stomach and reduce fever.  It's usually used eaten ground-you can find it on top of a hummus platter or rubbed into meaty kebabs, although if this is your only use for it for you definitely have some more learning to do. 

Sumac is related to the North American plant poison ivy, although it doesn't hold the same allergic properties. I always knew there was something about Israeli and Greek food I loved, but I never put my finger on it until a recent trip to England. We went to this fabulous Turkish restaurant, and there was the same subtle delicious note to every dish, when I asked the owner what this beautiful taste was he and me SU-MAC! He offered to give me some to take home, but I had nothing to take it in. I should have stuffed it right into my pockets, knowing my luck i'd probably be detained at YYZ coming back into Toronto. I graciously declined. Wah wah wah...

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Thanks for your two cents. I love change!