Sumac is a widely used spice that is popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. It has a tangy, sour flavor that adds depth to many dishes. In this article, we will explore the botanical name and taxonomy of sumac, the sumac shrub, and fruit, growing and cultivating techniques, processing of sumac as a spice, the different types of sumac, benefits of the spice, statistics of its production and consumption, and specifically, sumac from Iran.
Botanical Name and Taxonomy:
Sumac belongs to the Anacardiaceae family and has several species. The most commonly used species in cooking is Rhus coriaria. Other species include Rhus glabra, Rhus trilobata, and Rhus typhina. Sumac is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 10 meters tall. It has small yellow-green flowers and compound leaves that turn red in the fall.
Sumac shrubs are native to the Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa, but they can also be found in other regions around the world. The plant is hardy and can grow in poor soils and dry regions. It is deciduous, which means it loses its leaves in the winter.
Sumac fruit is a small, red berry-like fruit that grows on the sumac shrub. The fruit is known for its tangy, acidic flavor and is used as a spice in many different cuisines around the world.
The sumac fruit is usually harvested in the fall when it has reached its peak ripeness. It is then dried and ground into a fine powder to be used as a spice. The powder can range in color from a deep red to a purplish-brown, depending on the variety of sumac used.