Sumac is mentioned a lot in this blog, because it is such an intrinsic part of Lebanese and Levantine food in general; however, I need to caution anybody who lives in the US or Canada that the sumac in your area that grows wild is (unlike the one in Lebanon and the Near East) supposed to be poisonous. 

Please be cautious and only  add it to your spice cabinet after the green light from a local gardener. 

It is sumac season and sumac  grows wild around here and the berries are ready to be harvested.

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  1. Posted October 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Love just having sumac on the table – never knew that’s how it looks like!

  2. Posted October 11, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I saw this today on your facebook profile; I have never tried and I have no idea whether it is possible to buy it here in Poland. I am very worried what’s going on in your area….kind regards magdalena

  3. Posted October 12, 2012 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the warning- I had no idea! I do not live in the US but it is good to know. I’m reading “Little House on the Prairie” to my kids and the book mentions how sumac grows wild on the prairie- I had no idea it was poisonous! (I love sumac, by the way, thanks to this blog! I have to order mine online, from Penzey’s.)

  4. Posted October 12, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    I saw them in greenin the forest on Toros Mountains. I haven’t met before them in red. I like drinking its syrup. Thanks, Joumana.

  5. Posted October 12, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Sumac… good stuff and so many uses. Cool to see what the plant looks like.

  6. Emilie
    Posted October 12, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    My Lebanese teta would fry an egg in olive oil and season it with sumac, salt and pepper–so simple and delicious! Thanks so much Joumana for keeping our Lebanese food traditions alive.

  7. Coleen
    Posted October 12, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    I live in the US & am glad that you clarified that ours is not good to use. I knew ours was poisonous, but didn’t know that there was a non-poisonous variety. As always, I learn so much from your blog! Oh, I found some za’atar @ the farmers market….. We LOVE it!

  8. Posted October 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    How nice it would be to just pluck your own sumac! My mother weeds out wild mugwort for rice cakes and stews. That’s not potentially poisonous though! good warning.

  9. roxie
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    this looks so good ! you know the leaf on your trees look just like the sumac here but ours only grows about two ft high lol and yes it may be poisonous as I never new our family to consume it in any way and they were Lebanese but must have been told by locals not to eat it .
    my cousin sent me you note on nettle tea this is how I found the site . I am so impressed how healthy the culture is . I will be back yo visit ☺

  10. Posted October 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never tasted sumac but they are planted along the highways here and, at this time of year, are brilliant red and orange.

  11. Anthony Duncan
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Hello, great blog! I had to mention though- the vast majority of sumac in North America is actually edible and just like Middle Eastern sumac, and has been steeped in water to mad a lemonade like drink for centuries. It tastes great!

    Poison sumac has small white/green berries, and cannot be mistaken for other, edible types. See:–1A.htm

  12. Joumana
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    @Anthony: WOW, this is GREAT NEWS!~ thanks so much for the update and I will correct the post accordingly!

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  1. […] *Your favourite olive oil (my fave these days) *Sumac, pul biber (both are optional) or you can use red cayenne pepper […]

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