Sumac is the berry of a shrub that grows in the Mediterranean and parts of the Middle East. It is little known in Western cuisine, but it is an essential ingredient in Arab and especially Lebanese cooking. It has a tart, fruity flavour, and is used to add acidity to food in the same way that lemon is used in Canada and tamarind is used in Asian countries. Fresh sumac is occasionally called for in recipes, but outside of the regions where it is grown, sumac is generally only available dried and ground.
Sumac is a key ingredient in Za'atar Seasoning, a Middle Eastern spice mixture with sesame seeds and thyme.