Zahtar is an authentic Middle Eastern mix of herbs and spices, featuring sumac, thyme, oregano and sesame seeds. It is often mixed with olive oil to create a savory topping for yogurt, breads, potatoes or eggs. Also makes a wonderfully fragrant dry rub for chicken or vegetables.
Zahtar, or "Za'atar," is a centuries-old spice blend that is traditional throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Bright, tart sumac and nutty sesame seeds accent the earthy, herbal flavors of thyme and oregano, making it a multi-dimensional seasoning with a variety of applications.
Virtually every country in the region has its own Zahtar variant, either emphasizing a specific ingredient or adding additional ones, and family Zahtar recipes are often closely guarded secrets and points of pride. In Jordan, Zahtar tends to contain more sumac, while in Lebanon it sometimes contains dried orange zest. Israeli Zahtar often includes dried dill. Our blend, however, combines the most popular ingredients that are frequently found in Zahtar blends.
Given its long history, there are a number of myths and folk legends associated with Zahtar. In Lebanese culture, eating Zahtar is thought make the mind alert and the body strong, a belief that traces back to the Lebanese Civil War of the 1970s and 80s. This fabrication was designed to encourage soldiers to enjoy simple cuisine during lean times. As a result, Zahtar sandwiches are a common snack among schoolchildren before big exams.
We opted to blend our own Zahtar after discovering that many pre-blended products use citric acid for tartness, allowing them to cut back on sumac, or are cut with ground wheat as a filler. Our Zahtar is pure and unadulterated for maximum natural flavor.