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Za'atarOriganum cyriacum

From An Herbalist in the Kitchen

Other Common or Ethnic Names

  • Bible Hyssop, Syrian Oregano
  • Also known, scientifically, as Majorana syriaca, Origanum maru and Origanum syriacum.
  • Greece: Rigany
  • Israel: Ezov, Za'atar
  • Turkey: Kekik

Cultivar

  • 'Aegypticum'

Growth Habits

Perennial
Origin: Middle East (name suggests Syria)
Range: Dry temperate regions

Culinary Uses

Za'atar tastes like a cross between Thyme, Marjoram and Oregano. It is used in the cooking of Morocco.

In several Middle Eastern countries, the spice mixture Za'atar (see Comments, below) is combined with salt and olive oil and used as a topping (or dip) for bread. This usage is common among the Bedouins of North Africa as well.

The flavor of Za'atar (Majorana syriaca) is characterized by Carvacrol (69.5%) and p-Cymene (10.3%), although it does contain some sixteen other flavoring compounds.

Comments

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. I have also seen a melange of Marjoram, Sesame, Sumac, Salt and Olive Oil.

"Za'tar" or "Za'atar" are generic names for a whole group of Middle Eastern herbs from the genera Origanum, Calaminta, Thymus and Satureja. In Turkey, Kekik is a generic name for a group of herbs that include various Oreganos, Marjorams, Savories and Thymes.

Bible Hyssop should not be confused with true Hyssop, Hyssopus officinalis or any of the other herbs that include "Hyssop" in their names.

Za'atar Farsi Thymus capitatus

Other Common or Ethnic Names

  • Conehead Thyme, Headed Savory, Maritime Thyme, Persian Hyssop, Spanish Origanum, Zathter
  • Za'atar Farsi is also known, botanically, as Coridothymus capitatus and Satureia capitata.
  • Italy: Santoreggia

Growth Habits

Shrubby Perennial
Origin: Eastern Mediterranean Region
Range: Dry temperate regions

Culinary Uses

Uses similar to Za'atar and Thryba.

Essential oil used in commercial flavorings for baked goods, candies, condiments, ice creams, soft drinks and meats.

Other Uses

Source of commercial Spanish Origanum Oil.

Comments

"Za'tar" or "Za'atar" are generic names for a whole group of Middle Eastern herbs from the genera Origanum, Calaminta, Thymus and Satureja.

Persian Hyssop should not be confused with true Hyssop, Hyssopus officinalis or any of the other herbs that include "Hyssop" in their names.

Za'atar HommarThymbra spicata

Other Common or Ethnic Names

  • Donkey Hyssop, Za'atar Sahrawi (Desert Hyssop)

Growth Habits

Shrubby Perennial
Origin: Eastern Mediterranean Region
Range: temperate regions

Culinary Uses

Uses similar to Za'atar and Thryba.

Comments

"Za'tar" or "Za'atar" are generic names for a whole group of Middle Eastern herbs from the genera Origanum, Calaminta, Thymus and Satureja.

Desert Hyssop or Donkey Hyssop should not be confused with true Hyssop, Hyssopus officinalis or any of the other herbs that include "Hyssop" in their names.

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