What is Sumac? | Sumac Health Benefits, Recipes & Uses
What is Sumac - Sumac Health Benefits, Recipes and Uses
Learn all about the health benefits of sumac and uses of sumac here as well as finding lots of sumac recipes. The spice sumac, or sumach, isn't an herb. It's a berry that grows on a Mediterranean bush, and very few people know about it. That's because it grows mostly in southern Italy and the Middle East and is mainly used only in Mediterranean dishes. If you've ever eaten za'atar, you've probably eaten sumac because it is usually one of the ingredients of za'atar.
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Poison ivy (Rhus toxicondendron) is related to it, however, sumac (Rhus coriaria) is not poisonous.
Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra) and Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) which are used in North America to make "sumac-ade," "Indian lemonade" or "rhus juice" are also related. Some sumacs are combined with tobacco for smoking.
How Is Sumac Made?
First sumac berries are dried then they are crushed to make the spice. However, fresh sumac berries are sometimes also used to make a juice.
Health Benefits of Sumac
Traditionally, sumac was also used as a medicine. In medieval times it was used to treat about half a dozen ailments.
Research has found sumac to have antimicrobial properties. Research further suggests that it may be used to treat and prevent hyperglycemia, diabetes and obesity due to hypoglycemic properties.
Recent research suggests that sumac has antioxidant properties. In one experiment, the drinking water of animals was supplemented with sumac, and it was found that there was less oxidized DNA bases in their colons, livers, lungs and lymphocytes.
Traditional Uses of Sumac in Authentic Cuisine
*Middle Eastern cuisine - add a lemony taste to salads or meat
*Arab cuisine - a garnish on mezze dishes such as hummus and added to salads in the Levant
*Iranian (Persian and Kurdish) cuisine - added to rice or kebab
Sumac Cooking Videos
Cooking Videos on Sumac's "Relatives"
More Info about Sumac
- Sumac Spice - Uses in Middle Eastern Cuisine and Health Benefits
Some more interesting info about sumac and it's uses throughout the Middle East.
- Review on Potential Medicinal Uses of Sumac
A research review paper on the potential health benefits and medicinal uses of extracts from sumac.