Frequently Asked Questions
What is Za'atar?
Za’atar (pronounced zah-tar) is an herb from the Lamiaceae plant family, Origanum syriacum, among other names. It has a distinctively sharp thyme-like flavor. It is native to the Levantine Region however it can be cultivated in other Mediterranean climates, although the resulting za’atar may not be the same. It is used to make the popular Za’atar blend (of the same name, and also known as Zoubaeh), used in Levantine/ Middle Eastern cuisine, and more. The traditional Lebanese za’atar mix is made with the sun-dried za’atar herb, salt, toasted sesame seeds and sumac spice. It is a staple in the Middle Eastern pantry.
What is Za’atar Day?
On September 23rd, join us to celebrate Za’atar Day, by sharing your favorite Za’atar inspired dish and tagging #zaatarday. Stay posted for annual giveaways and even more new recipe shares on September 23!
How is Za'atar used?
Za’atar may be one of the most versatile condiments and spices. It is a multi-purpose blend that is earthy, tangy, and savory. It is perfect for adding to dips, hummus, baba gannouj, chickpeas, eggs, adding to roasted and sautéed vegetables, as a rub for chicken, meat, and fish, in salad dressings and more.
The most popular use is mixed with olive oil and as a topping for the traditional Middle Eastern baked bread, mankoushe (pronounced man-ou-sheh).
Browse some of our favorite Za'atar recipes here.
What is the difference between Za’atar the plant and Za’atar the herb mix?
Za’atar grows as fresh wild thyme, native to the Levantine and Middle Eastern Region. This fresh herb is often used in salads, on flatbreads and pizza, in pies (fatayar) and more. This same herb is sun dried and crushed to be used in the Za’atar herb mix, along with sumac spice, toasted sesame seeds and salt
Are there different kinds of Za’atar?
There are different types of Za’atar blends from different regions in the Middle East. These include those from Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, and others. The mix we use is a traditional Lebanese blend, with Za’atar grown in Lebanon. It is also called zahtar, zaatar, zaater.
What is the best way to store Za’atar and the Za’atar spread?
The dried Za’atar blend can be stored in a cabinet, pantry, or in the fridge to preserve shelf life even longer.
It is best to keep your Za’atar Extra Virgin Olive Oil condiment spread in a cabinet, pantry, on counter, and not in the fridge.
What are other names of Za’atar?
Za’atar is also known as wild thyme, thymbra spicata, sometimes called Syrian oregano, hyssop, although the shape, taste, and look of Za’atar differs from that of oregano plants.
What are some health benefits of Za'atar?
Sumac is full of flavonoids, and thyme and oregano are both packed with thymol, an essential oil, and carvacrol, a phenol. Both thymol and carvacrol have antioxidant, antiseptic and fungicide properties. Thymol has also been shown to help control coughing fits in patients with bronchitis.
These days, the medicinal uses of thyme are usually associated with its oil, which contains 25-54% thymol, one of a naturally occurring set of compounds known as biocides that have antimicrobial properties. Scientists from the University of Manitoba wrote that thymol can reduce bacterial resistance to antibiotics,
Researchers have also looked into thyme’s ability to pay a role in fighting food-borne illnesses. At a Portuguese university, scientists found that they worked as a natural food preservative against several common food bacteria.