"Sumac" news and stories
Spice ID Quiz
Both leaves and seeds of this plant are employed as seasoning in Indian food, and the seeds are used to flavor artificial maple syrup.
It just wouldn't be real rye bread without...
- Fennel Seed
The signature herb overtone of gin is...
- Juniper Berries
The leaves of this plant are snipped and used as the herb cilantro, but the seeds are a seasoning known as...
This spice is the inside part of the Myristica tree seed -- not to mention darned tasty in baked goods and sprinkled on winter beverages.
- Ground Allspice
This wee, nutty spice is smashing on a roll or paired with a tart lemon pastry
- Poppy Seeds
- Mustard Seed
These long, cured pods, often used to flavor desserts, are members of the orchid family.
- Vanilla Beans
This strikingly-shaped fruit is a core element in Chinese five-spice.
- Star Anise
This spice, made by grinding dried berries, adds a lemony taste to juice and Middle Eastern cuisine.
This Indian spice is valued as much for its vibrant hue as it is for its flavoring properties.
- Ras al Hanout
This spice is often cited as the most expensive on the market, due to the difficulty of harvesting it.
- Grains of Paradise
These dried berries are, monetarily speaking, the most traded spice on the planet.
- Black Pepper
Remember the previously mentioned Myristica tree seed? This is the outside seed casing, all ground up.
We're awfully sorry that we can't present this quiz in Smell-O-Vision, but still we must ask -- can you identify this common ground-bark spice by sight alone?
The green version of this pod is an essential flavor component in Chai tea.
- Tonka Bean
From left to right, these are...
- Cumin, Anise
- Celery Seed, Dill
- Fennel, Cumin
- Dill, Anise
This Thai cuisine staple is also purported to possess aphrodisiac qualities.
This pungent, earthy seed is valued for both culinary and medicinal use.
- Black Cumin
- Black Cardamom
- Grains of Selim
Chewing this spice is said to improve and sweeten the breath.
- Celery Seed
Dried peppers are ground to make this spice, which is widely used in Hungarian and Spanish cuisine.
- Ras al Hanout
| Niagara's Lailey Vineyard. Photo: Monika Bartyzel
- Trekking across the Niagara Region for seasonal comfort food, pies and wines, and traveling through Muskoka for honey, coffee and family farming.
- "Mad Men," their love of cocktails, and a recipe for a Betty Draper-inspired gimlet.
- Sumac's sour, fruit-like flavor makes it a great substitute for a splash of lemon.
- Open's 2008 Riesling-Gewürtztraminer is a fine summer wine, plus the run-down on Beringer's 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ("a steal") and Prospect's Pinot Noir.
- The porcine pleasures of prosciutto pioneers.
- Recipe: Wild Blueberry Lemon Jam
Filed under: In Sixty Seconds
In continuing with the backyard wild teas, I can't let summer pass by without mentioning this wild lemonade substitute. Sumac grows like a weed in this country. It is a relative to the much hated poison sumac, but as the flowers give way to the fruit, you can't mistake this harmless, small tree for anything else.
The branches are fuzzy, hence the name of this variety. The fuzzy clusters of fruit are what we're after. Watch these from June through September and grab the red ones, as they ripen, but before the rain hits them and washes away the flavor. Soak a couple of clusters in a pitcher of ice-cold water in your refrigerator for one to two hours. Your taste buds will know how long. Keep the water cold to prevent bitterness. Strain the results through a fine strainer, or cloth, and serve sweetened. It has a very lemonade-like flavor.
Since these trees seem to grow almost anywhere, please be careful of pollutants and heavy traffic. I doubt anyone would be upset with you for over picking these giant weeds though. See you on the trail!
No, not the poison kind. Sumac, the powdered berry of the Rhus Coriaria bush, is a tart spice used in many Middle Eastern dishes. The brick-red powder is perhaps best-known as a major player in za'atar, a mix of sesame seeds, salt, marjoram, thyme, oregano, and other spices used as a meat or fish rub or mixed with olive oil for a bread dip. You can find it in some gourmet markets or Middle Eastern specialty stores.
Tangy sumac makes a nice substitute for lemon juice when sprinkled over fish, vegetables, or hummus. Stir some into thick Greek yogurt with a pinch of salt for a simple veggie or pita dip. I've served a cold salad of sweet potato wedges and diced red onion tossed with chopped mint and sumac alongside Middle Eastern-influenced main dishes like chicken tagine with prunes or lamb kebabs.