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Origanum syriacum 1 gr. numerous tiny seeds culinary & herbal medicine.
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Zaatar (Origanum syriacum) fresh seeds, organic


(Origanum vulgare is a "relative" of Origanum syriacum but o. vulgare is missing the qualities and powers of Origanum Syriancum).

(Wild Middle-Eastern Oregano, Ezov, Majorana syriaca)
Family: Mint (Lamiaceae)
Hardiness: 20 degrees F
Woody perennial native to the Middle East. This is a spicy smelling and tasting oregano-like herb that is the keystone herb in the condiment of the same name, which is used quite frequently by people living in the Middle east. You mix the dried and powdered herb with various other ingredients--garlic, salt, olive oil, crushed sumac seeds, etc and use it on bread. Quite delicious and habit forming in a good way. Zaatar is one of the sources of the antiseptic essential oil known as carvacrol, which (along with other terpenoids such as thymol) inhibits several kinds of nasty bacteria (e.g. Pseudomonas aeruginosa) by eroding the bacterial cell wall. Plant prefers full sun and sandy, fast-draining soil. Makes an abundant crop of leaves in the first growing season. Make sure to harvest in the first year of growth as the overwintering of this plant is never a sure thing.

From a gardening friend: "I wanted to send you additional confirmation that your source of Zaatar is authentic. I bought some plants for a friend who grew up as a goat herder on one of Israel's first settlement kibbutzim and he was familiar with the herb and its prevalent use among the Palestinians. I watched expectantly as he brushed the leaves and inhaled. He lifted his head, gave a knowing smile and said, "It smells like the Holy Land".

Culinary Uses : This mixture of sumac,

sesame seed and herbs is used frequently in the

Middle East and Mediterranean areas. It is

often mixed with olive oil and spread on bread;

sometimes this is done at the table, other times

the mix is spread on the bread rounds which are

then baked. Za'atar also serves as a seasoning

to sprinkle on vegetables, salads, meatballs or

kebabs. Much like sausage seasonings, each

country has distinctive style of Za'atar, and

each family develops its own special blend.

Various mixtures are sometimes marketed as

"Za'atar" (or "Zathar"). Thyme and Sumac is a

common version. Another is: Thyme, Salt,

Sumac and Toasted Sesame. Yet another is:

Thyme, Sumac and Summer Savory. A

melange of Marjoram, Sesame, Sumac, Salt

and Olive Oil is also called Za atar. "Za'tar" or

"Za'atar" are generic names for a whole group

of Middle Eastern herbs from the genera

Origanum, Calaminta, Thymus and Satureja.

Za'atar tastes like a cross between Thyme,

Marjoram and Oregano. The flavor of Za'atar is

characterized by Carvacrol (69.5%) and p-

Cymene (10.3%), although it does contain

some sixteen other flavoring compounds.

The dried flower heads of this oregano

are also usable if picked before browning of the

flowers occur. Their flavor is very concentrated

and is the perfect flourish for a grilled cheese

sandwich or a bowl of creamy tomato soup.



3 parts toasted sesame seeds

2 parts dried spiked thyme (Thymbra spicata)

1 part dried Syrian oregano

1/2 - 1 part powdered sumac

salt, optional

The thyme and marjoram should be as fine as

possible. If you can't find sumac, you can either

do without or substitute some lemon salt

(maybe only a half part, in proportion), since

the sumac has a lemony flavor.

Za atar

1/2 cup dried Syrian Oregano

1/4 cup imported edible ground sumac

2 tablespoons roasted Sesame Seeds

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Black Pepper to taste

Pita Bread

2/3 Cup Olive oil

In a small bowl add the first five ingredients

and stir together to combine. Seal in a glass jar

and store out of the light. Makes about 2/3 cup.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Brush pita with

olive oil and sprinkle with Zatar and warm in

the oven. Or mix equal parts Zatar and Olive

Oil and spread over bread and then warm.

Leek with eggs

Roast chopped ginger (size of 2-4 walnuts) in

butter, add chopped leek (3 medium sized,

including green), salt, fry for a couple of

minutes to obtain some browning of leek. Push

fried vegetables to the outside of pot, add 4

eggs in middle, salt, and cover with vegetables.

Let eggs stock for about 3-5 minutes. Cover

everything with loads of Zaatar, as to taste, and

a bit of hot pepper. Serve with Italian or white


Roasted Carrot And Feta Salad With


2 1/2 pounds carrots -- peeled and quartered


2 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

cups crumbled Bulgarian feta cheese

2 Tsps extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp za'atar -- or more to taste

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro leaves

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. To roast

carrots, place the carrots, olive oil, salt and

pepper on a baking sheet, toss well and transfer

to the oven. Roast, shaking occasionally until

they are just beginning to brown, about 30

minutes. The carrots should be firm and not

mushy. When they are cool enough to handle,

cut the carrots in angled 1-inch slices. Transfer

to a serving bowl. Add the remaining

ingredients and toss well. Serve immediately or

cover and refrige rate up to 4

Za atar Bread

Yield: 12 servings

1 cup water

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp canola oil

1/3 cup rye flour

2 2/3 cups bread flour

3 1/2 teaspoons za'atar

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon yeast

Place all ingredients in bread machine in order

given. Bake on regular cycle with light crust.

NOTES: This is particularly good with cold

cuts, and leftover chicken or brisket. The recipe

is for a Regal bread machine. Adjust

accordingly. From-scratch bakers know how to

play with the recipe.


Serves: approximately 20 balls, maybe 40


4 lbs full- fat yogurt, w/o gelatin (important, not

only for kashrut, but for solidifying the


3 or more cloves garlic, minced

3 or more dried red peppers, chopped (or 1/2 tsp.

crushed red peppers) Salt to taste

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1-1/2 pints of olive oil

1/4 cup za'atar

Drain the yogurt overnight in a triple

layer of cheesecloth. Every few hours, Kind of

"roll" the yogurt around in the cheese cloth.

When the yogurt is firm and the consistency of

a soft cream cheese, mix in the chopped red

peppers, garlic, and season to taste with salt

and pepper. Take a tablespoon and roll the

cheese mixture into balls. Place za'atar in a tray

and roll the balls gently to coat them. Place

balls gently into a bowl and cover with olive

oil. Let "marinate" overnight. As long as the

cheese balls are covered completely, there's no

need for refrigeration. To serve, lift cheese

balls gently from the now-herbal oil (great for

other uses!) and pla te. Serve with pita petals

(the pita split, cut in wedges, and then toasted).

Za atar Spiced Eggplant Salad

Za atar Spice Blend

1 1/2 cups toasted sesame seeds

1 cup dry spiked thyme Set aside.

1 1/2 cups dry Syrian oregano

1 1/2 cups powdered sumac


Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Spice blend may be stored for up to 3 weeks in

an airtight container.

4 eggplant

6 cloves garlic, chopped

4 tablespoons tahini paste

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 lemons, juiced

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons za atar spice blend



2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

4 plum tomatoes, diced medium

2 medium red onion, dice small

4 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

Place eggplants on a lightly oiled

baking pan. Bake in a 325 F. oven

approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours until tender.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. When

cool enough to handle peel and remove some

seeds. Place the peeled eggplant in a food

processor with the garlic and tahini paste. With

the machine on, slowly add the half the oil and

lemon juice. Transfer to a large mixing bowl

and add the remaining seasonings. Fold in the

parsley and diced tomatoes. Set aside. In a

medium saut pan heat the remaining oil and

saut the onions, pine nuts and jalapeno until

the onions are and pine nuts are lightly

browned. Cool approximately 10 minutes, then

fold into the eggplant. Gently mix well; adjust

seasonings and serve at room temperature.

Fricasse de Ciuperci

(Romanian Mushrooms in Tomato Sauce)

3 to 4 servings

1 pound button, crimini, or other mushrooms

3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced

teaspoon paprika

2 cups (about 1 pound) peeled, seeded, and

chopped plum tomatoes

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Syrian oregano, or

1 1/2 teaspoons dried Syrian oregano

About 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup dry red wine

About 1/4 teaspoon crushed chili flakes, or 1

dried red chili

If using small mushrooms, leave whole. Slice

the big ones into large pieces with the stems

intact. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over

medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and

saut until soft and translucent, 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and saut until slightly

tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the paprika

and saut for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes,

oregano, salt, and sugar, bring to a boil, reduce

the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the wine and chili and simmer until the

mushrooms are tender and the sauce thickens,

about 20 minutes. Serve warm as an

accompaniment to mamaliga (cornmeal mush)

or pasta.


(Ethiopian Cheese Dip)

About 2 cups

1 pound fresh goat cheese, sheep s cheese,

farmer s cheese, or pot cheese

1/4 cup plain yogurt

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, or 1/2

teaspoon dried basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Syrian oregano, or

1 teaspoon dried Syrian oregano

1 to 3 teaspoons grated lemon zest

About 1 teaspoon salt

About 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients. The mixture

should be thick enough to maintain its shape.

Serve with injera (Ethiopian pancake bread) or

pita bread.

Benadora bi Beid

(Syrian Tomato and Eggs)

4 to 5 servings

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups (about 28 ounces) peeled, seeded, and

chopped tomatoes

1 to 2 teaspoons sugar

6 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh Syrian oregano, or

1/2 teaspoon dried Syrian oregano

About 1/2 teaspoon salt

Ground white or black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the garlic and saut until lightly colored

but not burnt. Add the tomatoes and sugar,

cover, and simmer until tender, about 15

minutes. Stir in the eggs, oregano, salt, and

pepper. Cover and simmer until set, 3 to 5

minutes. If desired, serve over toast.

Rambam's Charoset

1 cup pitted dates, chopped dried figs, raisins,

or any combination

2 cups water

1/4 cup wine vinegar

Za'atar leaves (not ground) to taste

Pour the water over the fruit and let soak

overnight. Bring the fruit and water to a boil,

reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer,

stirring frequently, until the mixture forms a

paste-like consistency. Remove from the heat

and stir in the vinegar and za'atar.

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