Perennial herbs create beautiful, aromatic anchors around our ever-changing annual vegetable gardens but in the fall, they too must be cut back. This annual pruning provides us with an abundance of fresh herbs that can be dried and stored. If your harvest was particularly bountiful and your are staring at your five quart jars of oregano wondering how many pizza parties it would take use all those herbs, we have an idea for you: give the gift of Za’atar.
This delicious blend of herbs, sesame, and salt is incredibly versatile. Use it in olive oil for dipping, as a topping to bread, as seasoning for meats (amazing on chicken!) and vegetables, or sprinkled on hummus. It's simple to make and best of all, most of the ingredients can be found in your garden!
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems (or equivalent dried)
2 tablespoons marjoram
2 tablespoons oregano
2 teaspoons ground sumac*
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1. If freshly harvested, place thyme, oregano and marjoram leaves on a baking sheet in a 300F oven until dry, just ten minutes or so. Just long enough that they'll crumble between pinched fingers. Let cool.
If you are using herbs that are already dried, you are ready to go!
2. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the herbs leaves finely. If your herbs are stem-y or fibrous, sift to remove any larger particles. Transfer to a small bowl, and aside.
3. Crush the sumac finely with the mortar and pestle, add the salt and crush with the sumac. Add the thyme, oregano and marjoram and gently grind together. Stir in the sesame seeds, taste, and adjust to your liking!
4. Store za'atar in a cool, dark place in jar with a lid or other airtight container. When stored properly, za'atar can be used from 3-6 months.