Georgeanna Short

Georgeanna Short

Published: 15 Jul 2023


Sumac, a red-colored spice commonly used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, brings a unique flavor and a plethora of health benefits to the table. From its vibrant appearance to its tangy taste, sumac has gained popularity among culinary enthusiasts and health-conscious individuals alike.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at sumac and uncover 19 fascinating facts about this versatile spice. Whether you’re a food lover looking to add some new flavors to your dishes or someone interested in the health benefits of natural ingredients, you’re in for a treat!

So, grab a cup of tea, get comfortable, and join us as we explore the world of sumac and all the secrets it holds.

Table of Contents

Sumac has a rich history.

Sumac has been used in cooking for thousands of years, with its origins dating back to ancient civilizations such as the Middle East and the Mediterranean region. It was prized for its medicinal properties and was also used as a dye for textiles.

Sumac is packed with antioxidants.

Sumac berries are rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body against damage caused by harmful free radicals. These antioxidants can contribute to overall health and well-being.

Sumac adds a tangy flavor.

One of the key characteristics of sumac is its tangy flavor. It provides a citrusy and slightly acidic taste, making it a perfect seasoning for various dishes, especially salads, marinades, and grilled meats.

Sumac is a versatile spice.

Sumac can be used in a wide range of recipes, from savory to sweet. It pairs well with vegetables, meats, fish, and even desserts, adding a unique and delightful twist to your dishes.

Sumac is a common ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine.

Sumac is widely used in Middle Eastern dishes, such as fattoush, a refreshing salad, and za’atar, a popular spice blend. It adds depth and complexity to these traditional recipes.

Sumac is used in traditional medicine.

In addition to its culinary uses, sumac has also been used in traditional medicine for its potential health benefits. It has been attributed with anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-cancer properties.

Sumac is a natural food coloring.

Due to its vibrant red hue, sumac has been used as a natural food coloring agent. It can be used to add a pop of color to various dishes, from sauces to desserts.

Sumac can be used in place of lemon or vinegar.

If you ever run out of lemons or vinegar, sumac can be a great substitute. Its tangy flavor provides a similar acidity to these ingredients, adding a bright and zesty kick to your culinary creations.

Sumac is a common spice in Turkish cuisine.

In Turkish cuisine, sumac is widely used in various dishes, including kebabs, salads, and mezes. It adds a distinctive flavor that complements the richness of Turkish cuisine.

Sumac is used in herbal teas.

Sumac berries can be steeped in hot water to make a refreshing and aromatic herbal tea. It is often consumed for its potential health benefits and its natural ability to soothe the digestive system.

Sumac can be foraged in the wild.

In some regions, sumac grows wild and can be foraged. However, it is recommended to purchase sumac from reputable sources to ensure its quality and safety for consumption.

Sumac is a common ingredient in spice blends.

Sumac is frequently used as a key ingredient in popular spice blends, such as za’atar and baharat. These spice blends are used in various dishes, adding complex layers of flavor.

Sumac has a long shelf life.

Due to its low moisture content, sumac has a long shelf life and can be stored for an extended period without losing its flavor and aroma. However, it is best to store it in a cool and dark place to maintain its freshness.

Sumac is gluten-free.

For individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, sumac is a safe spice to incorporate into their diet as it is naturally gluten-free.

Sumac can be used as a seasoning for popcorn.

For a unique and flavorful twist to your popcorn, sprinkle some sumac seasoning on top. It will elevate your movie night snack to a whole new level.

Sumac has a place in Ayurvedic medicine.

In Ayurvedic medicine, sumac has been used to support digestive health, boost immunity, and promote overall well-being. It is considered an important herb in this traditional system of medicine.

Sumac is also known as “the spice that grows in the desert.”

Due to its hardy nature and ability to thrive in arid regions, sumac is sometimes referred to as “the spice that grows in the desert.” It has been used by desert-dwelling cultures for centuries.

Sumac can be used to make a refreshing summer drink.

Sumac can be steeped in cold water and sweetened with honey or sugar to make a refreshing summer beverage. It is a popular drink in some regions and is known for its cooling properties.

Sumac is a key ingredient in the famous Turkish drink, “suma sherbet.”

Suma sherbet is a traditional Turkish drink made by steeping sumac berries in water and sweetening it with sugar or honey. It is a refreshing and tangy beverage, perfect for hot summer days.

These 19 facts about sumac have given you a glimpse into the diverse and fascinating world of this versatile spice. From its ancient history to its culinary uses and potential health benefits, sumac continues to captivate our taste buds and intrigue our senses. So go ahead and explore the wonders of sumac in your own kitchen, and elevate your dishes with its distinctive flavor and vibrant red hue.


Sumac is a versatile spice that offers a unique taste and numerous health benefits. Whether you’re using it in marinades, spice blends, or as a garnish, sumac adds a tangy and slightly citrusy flavor to your dishes. It’s also packed with antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great addition to a healthy diet.In addition to its delicious flavor and health benefits, sumac also has a rich history and cultural significance. From Middle Eastern cuisine to traditional medicine practices, this spice has been valued for centuries.So, the next time you’re looking to spice up your dishes and explore new flavors, consider adding sumac to your spice rack. Its vibrant red color, tangy taste, and nutritional benefits make it a must-have ingredient for any food lover.


1. What is sumac?

Sumac is a spice made from ground dried berries of the sumac plant. It is widely used in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and North African cuisines.

2. What does sumac taste like?

Sumac has a tangy and slightly citrusy flavor, similar to lemon. It adds a bright and refreshing taste to dishes.

3. What are the health benefits of sumac?

Sumac is rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body against free radicals. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and may aid digestion.

4. How can I use sumac in cooking?

Sumac can be used as a marinade for meats, added to vegetable dishes, sprinkled over salads, or used as a seasoning in spice blends.

5. Where can I buy sumac?

Sumac can be found in specialty food stores, Middle Eastern markets, or online. It is usually sold in powdered form or as whole dried berries.

6. Is sumac gluten-free?

Yes, sumac is naturally gluten-free and can be enjoyed by individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

7. Are there any precautions to take when using sumac?

While sumac is generally safe for consumption, it’s always a good idea to purchase from reputable sources and store it properly to maintain its quality.

8. Can I use sumac as a substitute for lemon juice?

Yes, sumac can be used as a substitute for lemon juice in some recipes. It provides a similar tangy flavor but without the acidity of lemon juice.