from the Arabic summaq
During Now-Rouz, Iranian new year, which falls on March 21 or 22 depending on the year, Iranian tradition dictates the "haft sin" or seven S's be brought to the table. They are seven symbolic ingredients that include somagh or sumac, a spice often used in making chelo kebabs and a symbol of good life.
Sumac is a shrub whose leaves turn bright red in the fall, a bit like Canadian maples.
It produces berries whose color reflects their country of origin, ranging from brick red to brown and purple. The berries contain little brown seeds.
Other parts of the tree are used to make varnish, laquer and other tannins.
Warning! The sumac that grows in America is an ornamental shrub and is inedible: in fact it is highly toxic!
Photo: Crousset Spices
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