Ingredient Spotlight: Sumac

While you may have wild sumac growing in your backyard, and you know it's poisonous, there are non-poisonous varieties of sumac that grow in the Middle East that are crushed up in powder and used as a spice.

Sumac spice is commonly found in Middle Eastern cuisine. The dark reddish powder has a zingy, lemony taste and is excellent when sprinkled on chicken, grilled lamb, and hummus. It's also used as an ingredient in zataar, a Middle Eastern spice mix. The spice was long used to add tartness to many dishes until the Romans introduced lemons to the area.

Sumac can be purchased at your local Middle Eastern market or online at places like Penzey's or The Spice House.

(Image: The Spice Trader)