These lovely fall days are making me happy! It's a pleasure to work indoors or out. Yesterday, I juiced a large batch of passionfruit, also known as maypops in these parts. I've been freezing the juice, with the intention of making jelly, once they've all ripened. I've also been cleaning staghorn (red) sumac, basically separating stems and seeds. I'll be making zaater with these. There are many variations of this Middle Eastern spread, but the recipe I learned in a wild plants class years ago is:
5 tbs dried sumac berries (grind them in a nut or coffee grinder & sift to get the remaining, big, inner berries out & discard. Keep remaining powder.)
2 1/2 tbs sesame seeds- toast seeds & grind with a mortar & pestle or a suribachi
3/4 tbs dried thyme
3/4 tsp salt
Mix ingredients together well. Spread out in a small pan and toast in oven/toaster oven for one minute. Store in a jar.
When you're ready to use the zaater, mix some with olive oil to desired consistency, spread on bread and toast if desired. It's great as is, or with cheese and tomatoes.
Sumac also makes a tart beverage, similar to lemonade, which is loaded with Vitamin C. One recipe for this is to soak 1 tbs of berries to 1 cup of water. Sweeten with honey.