Cooking with Sumac

Sumac is a wild plant that is common across the Mediterranean region. You can find sumac growing almost anywhere! Due to its abundance, it has made its way into much of the cuisine and medicinal uses across the Middle East, in Turkey, Lebanon, and some parts of Europe and Africa. The berries of the plant are harvested, dried, and then ground into a spice that is used in a nearly endless number of ways. However, much of the world’s commercial sumac is actually grown here in Canada, and then exported to the Middle East and sold back to food manufacturers and importers in Canada. (Source:

There are several different varieties of sumac (35 species, actually!) and the spice from each will yield different flavours.

Crushed seeds from the sumac plant creates one of the most unique of Palestinian spices. It is used in traditional dishes from salad (Fattoush) to the main course (Musakhan), giving a fresh, citrusy flavour to dishes.

Musakhan – Palestinian Sumac Chicken – is a traditional Middle Eastern dish made with marinated chicken legs served over a flatbread with caramelized red onions, sumac, and pine nuts. The Musakhan recipe below is from

Musakhan – Palestinian Sumac Chicken

For instructions on how to create a refreshing cool drink – Sumac Lemonade – go to

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