The Mahleb tree is known in English by the name, Maleb Cherries. The pit of the black cherry that forms the Mahleb is slightly sour, bitter flavor.It grows on high altitude and mountains tops with cool climate. The best Mahleb comes from the region of Antalya in Turkey.
Used primarily in Turkish, Armenian and Middle Eastern breads and pastries.In the Levant it is added in very little amounts with Arabic Mastic to traditional cookies made for holidays. it can be added to Brioche bread, just half a teaspoon of ground Mahleb is added to the whole amount. Mahleb is used only ground and in very little amounts due to its strong bitter flavor.Tthe seeds should be grounded right before use otherwise they will lose their flavor. The Mahleb seeds can be saved up to a year in your freezer.
In Elepo, a city famous for its cuisine in Syria, Mahleb is added to water that is brought to a boil, the sheep cheese made into small squares is added to the boiling water, let boil for few minutes only to pasteurize it, the cheese then is drained and black sesame seeds are added to it before placing it in jars with salt water, Mahleb and Mastic.
Mahleb has many medicinal usage. When used in ointments and cream to treat Arthritis, Gout, backache, kidney stones, and eases cough when the outer peel is used in cough syrups. Adding Mahleb to bathing water said to prevent colds. This recipe is for backaches and anemia: add 100 grams Mahleb,100 grams of sugar and 12 Almonds, grind the mix and use for 12 days in a row once a day. In the Middle East, Mahleb is used to ease the pain of teething in babies, mix ground Mahleb with Sugar and rub the baby's gum with it.