There are many kinds of Za'atar in the Levant. This Lebanese variety is a spicy, hearty, thyme-like plant with thin leaves and purple flowers. Its strong flavor makes it great for drying, pickling, or curing in olive oil. Za'atar is also used in the spice mixture of the same name, also including sesame seeds, dried sumac, salt, and other spices.
Hannah Goldberg shared this variety with New Roots Community Farm in the Bronx, NY so that they could grow it for her "Refugee Powered Food and Events" at Tanabel, a food and events company. Tanabel employs refugee women with exceptional talent in the kitchen. We host gatherings that celebrate the rich and sophisticated cuisine of the Middle East and offer guests the opportunity to get to know the food and people of countries in conflict.
New Roots Community Farm involves local south Bronx residents and refugees and asylee clients of International Rescue Committee to work together to address health issues in the Bronx and for vulnerable populations. The individual and communal beds allow refugees and asylees the opportunity to integrate into their communities at the local level and join the local food movement.
Also known as: Zaatar, sarsar, Summer Savory.
Days to Maturity: 120
Seeds per pack: 200
Germination rate: 88% on 03/06/2023
Planting / harvesting notes
Sow seeds on the surface of moist potting soil and barely cover. Keep moist until germination, usually in 7-14 days. Start indoors, and later transplant in full sun 9-12" apart.
Seed keeping notes
Allow seedheads to dry on the plant. Cut the stalks below the lowest seed clusters. If necessary, dry the seedheads further in the sun on a sheet or table away from moisture and precipitation. When fully dry, whack the seedheads in a bucket, allowing the ripest seed to fall. Sift through strainers to remove the largest chaff, and then winnow off the lighter chaff with your breath, a fan, or the wind.