Make Sumac Powder

These sumac berries still have some green.  They should be completely deep red for harvest!

These sumac berries still have some green. They should be completely deep red for harvest!

Did you know you can make sumac powder to use as a spice? True! Powdered sumac has a tart flavor that can be used on fish, chicken, over salad dressings, rice pilaf, or over raw onions. Use it in any recipe that you might use lemon juice or zest in.

Harvest the sumac berries at their peak when the berries are a dark red and after a dry spell. Rain can wash away much of the flavor and vitamin C. Dry the sumac bobs (berry heads) until they are dry enough to grind into a fine powder. Store as you would any other spice and you have a unusual, tart flavoring for a variety of dishes.

Sumac seasoning has been around a long, long time! In fact Zahtar is a common table condiment from North Africa into the middle east. Zahtar (aka: zatar, zaatar, za'tar) is a simple mix of toasted sesame Seeds, powdered sumac, and thyme. Try it on chicken or fish or simply mix with good olive oil to form a paste, spread on a pita, and toast until crisp.

Make sure to distinguish between edible sumac and the poisonous varieties. Poison sumac has white berries, while edible sumac berries are red.

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