Yes, But Would You Eat It? “Z” is for Za’atar


Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Each day in April (except Sundays) I’ll be posting about unusual and exotic foods.

photo of za’atar and aleppo pepper from commons.wikimedia.org

Za’atar, or زَعْتَر‎ in Arabic, is an herb and also the name of the spice mixture typically used as a condiment, which includes the herb za’atar as well as toasted sesame seeds, dried sumac, and salt, as well as thyme, oregano, and marjoram. The name za’atar alone most properly applies to hyssop, a shrub in the mint family. Some varieties of za’atar may add cumin, coriander, and fennel seed. There are so many versions, depending on the region and familial history.

Za’atar, both the herb and the condiment, is popular in Algeria, Armenia, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey. It can be mixed with olive oil and spread on a pita, or mixed in with hummus, or sprinkled onto meats and vegetables. A traditional beverage in Oman is za’atar steeped in boiling water to make a herbal tea!

I’m surprised Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry za’atar in little glass jars. Maybe someday soon.

So, last time I’ll ask – would you try za’atar?

Thank you for joining me on this culinary trip around the world! I hope you learned something from these posts, and perhaps you have found one or two interesting items to try.

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