Sumac is a herb which has a unique taste typically described as tangy and slightly fruity, a bit like lemon. But in addition to bringing a distinct taste to dishes, it also boasts a long list of impressive benefits. Researches suggest that sumac could have a powerful effect on blood sugar control, heart health, disease prevention, and even pain relief.
Sumac dry red powder isn’t a true spice — it gets harvested from the fruit of the sumac, or sumach flower, a member of the cashew family. Although it’s prevalent in Middle Eastern cooking, the plant hails mainly from subtropical and temperate areas in Africa and North America. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find the plant growing in Iran, Turkey or Yemen, three regions that covet the ancient seasoner. As for its use, over 2,000 years ago the Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides wrote on the health properties of sumac in his epic tome and doctors as well as cooks have employed it for centuries. Medicinally it was utilized as an astringent, antiseptic and tonic. At one time there was even sumac pink lemonade, which helped cool feverish patients in addition to tasting good. In North America, the indigenous peoples also used fragrant and smooth sumac in beverages, mainly to create a concoction similar to beer.
Sumac herb, native of Middle East, produces deep red berries, which are dried and ground into a coarse powder (not fine powder). Taste of sumac is a very tangy lemony floavoured. While it’s less common, the berries may also be sold whole. Ground sumac is a versatile spice with a tangy lemony flavor, although more balanced and less tart than lemon juice. A small sprinkle also adds a beautiful pop of color to any dish.
Sumac powder is a widely used, essential spice in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It’s used in everything from dry rubs, marinades, and dressing. But its best use is sprinkled over food before serving. It pairs well with vegetables, grilled lamb, chicken, and fish. Sumac is one of the main components in the spice mix za’atar, and is used as a topping on fattoush salad, and makes a nice topping on dips like hummus. Sumac herb is widely used in grill foods and barbeque foods.
Health Benefits of Sumac Herb:
Anti-cancer: A super anti-oxidant, and packed with vitamin C which means it can help ward off diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
- Anti-inflammatory: Inflammation is thought to be the cause of most diseases and Sumac is an anti-inflammatory spice that helps fight various disorders, colds, and the Flu.
- Has been studied to be effective in regulating cholesterol levels and treating diabetes by reducing blood sugar.
- Anti-fungal & Anti-microbial: Sumac is Anti-microbial and anti-fungal spice which can help treat skin inflammation and disorders. It has also been studied to be effective in fighting bacteria like Salmonella and can be used to safely disinfect fruits and vegetables.
- Can increase breast milk production and ease menstrual cramps
- Sumac is a Diuretic which means it helps remove toxins from the body through urine and has been used traditionally to treat urine infections and digestive problems.