Salty, Tart Fruit Mix (Sumac-Anise Hyssop Spice Mix)

Sprinkle Cortney Burns's salty, fragrant blend over summer melons
31 Ratings
100% would make again
Photo: Rachel Vanni/Tasting Table

There’s something magical about fresh fruit at its peak ripeness, dusted with a pinch of sour, salty, herby spices. In Hawaii, that’s the funky li hing mui, or salted plum and apples, pineapples, or even gummy bears (yeah, not fruit, but let’s move on). In India, it’s crackled rock salt on fresh fruits, and in Mexico, a smattering of chiles, salt and lime on smooth mango flesh.

That’s why we’ve tapped Cortney Burns, the other half of the spice-forward duo behind Bar Tartine in San Francisco, after a long bout of travel (pop-up in Marrakech, James Beard grant to Japan and a Travel & Leisure story in Delhi), to dream up the ultimate summer fruit mix. But inspiration for her blend is a bit closer to home.

“This is more of an ode to the farmers and what they bring us,” Burns explains. “In a day, we receive anise hyssop, mint and melon, and we already have sumac.” So she dries them out and tosses them together in equal amounts, save for the anise hyssop. “Anise is in the mint family, and it’s this crazy naturally sweet thing, like stevia,” Burns says. “It’s a nice branch between savory and sweet.”

The result is a sweet, tart, salty spice blend that has cantaloupe, honeydew, you name it, written all over it. But gummy bears? You’ll have to see for yourself.

Sumac-Anise Hyssop Spice Mix

Recipe adapted from Cortney Burns, Bar Tartine, San Francisco, CA

Yield: About 2 tablespoons

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: N/A

Total Time: 5 minutes


1 tablespoon sumac

1 teaspoon flaky salt

1 teaspoon dried mint

½ teaspoon dried anise hyssop


In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients. Best served over melon.

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