Taste the World is a collaboration between the Scarsdale Library and Apiary at the Library. Each month we will provide a small amount of a different spice or spice blend from a different part of the world. Cook with the spice and join us for a Zoom discussion of what we each made. Participants will share tips, recipes and opinions of how their sampling the spices went.
In July we will be cooking with Sumac.
Sumac is a spice that is popular in the Middle East. It is related to the poisonous shrub by the same name, but the culinary variety is safe to use and easily identifiable by its vibrant red berries (poisonous sumac is white).1 The berries are turned into a coarse powder and sold as a ground spice; the berries are also available whole, although this is much less common in the U.S. Sumac is a versatile seasoning that adds a bright red color and a tartness, similar to lemon juice, to a dish. One of the most common uses for sumac is in the spice blend called za'atar.
The name sumac comes from the Aramaic word summaq which means "dark red." As far back as 2,000 years ago, sumac was noted for its healthful properties, namely as a diuretic and anti-flatulent, by Roman Emperor Nero's physician, Pedanius Dioscorides. Before lemons made their way into Europe, the Romans used sumac to add a tanginess to dishes.
In North America, indigenous peoples and early pioneers used sumac to treat a variety of ailments, from coughs and sore throats to stomachaches and wounds.
The flavor of sumac is quite surprising as the deep red spice is reminiscent of fresh lemon juice. This sweet but sour taste is followed by an astringent powerful punch. While having a diverse flavor profile, sumac still blends exceptionally well with other spices such as allspice, chili, thyme, and cumin. (from SpruceEats)
You can find some recipes using sumac here:
You will receive an email when your kit is ready to be picked up. Alternately, please email me when you register if you do not need a kit.
You will receive an email with the Zoom link approximately an hour before the discussion starts.