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Sumac (Rhus Corioria)
An astringent and fruity-tasting, purple-coloured, spice made from the petals and dried seeds of the sumac shrub (belonging to the 'Rhus' family) - and popular in the Middle East. A traditional flavouring for fattoush and Zahtar. The berry-like fruit of the plant is sour-tasting, and was used in ancient Rome.
The ground spice is popular in certain areas of the Middle East, where it's sprinkled on kebabs and pilafs, or mixed with thyme and used as a seasoning for eggs. If lemons are scarce, the dried berries are soaked in warm water to produce a refreshing drink. Because of this, in the U.S.A they are sometimes called 'Lemonade berries'. See 'Fattoush'; 'Zahtar'