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Rhus coriaria
Rhus coriaria
Did you know that… ?
  1. …eastern nations formerly used sumac instead of salt?
  2. …sumac is an important ingredient in spice mixes for shashliks and kebabs?
  3. …sumac is a favorite spice in Syrian, Lebanese, Iranian and Turkish cooking?
  4. …sumac, along with roasted sesame seeds and ground thyme is an important ingredient in "Zahtar", a spice mix used in the Middle East and Africa?
  5. …sumac is commonly used in the Middle East like lemon juice?
  6. …hot water on sumac powder or sumac berries produces a sour marinade, great for marinating poultry before grilling?
  7. …sumac is effective against diarrhea and bed-wetting?
  8. …sumac as a spice consists of dried berries of the Rhus coriaria bush, ground to a red powder, or juice pressed from the same berries soaked in water?

Onion salad

1 large onion
1 teaspoon ground sumac, salt

Thinly slice onions, place in bowl, cover with ice water and let stand 15 minutes. Drain water and carefully dry onions. Place in salad bowl, sprinkle with sumac, salt to taste and mix thoroughly. Let stand for 15 minutes and serve as a side dish with meat.


Ancient Romans used sumac until lemons arrived in Europe. Soldiers and gladiators used sumac to stop bleeding from wounds sustained in battle. Sailors on long voyages carried red sumac powder in tightly sealed barrels and ate it at the first sign of scurvy or other ailments caused by a lack of vitamins.