Za’atar has made culinary cameos throughout history. In fact, an ancient version of za’atar is said to have been buried with King Tut. Another variety also makes several appearances in the bible under the Hebrew name “ezov,” which mainly refers to hyssop. The plant, however, is never actually eaten in either the Old or New Testaments. There’s debate as to whether or not this iteration even qualifies as za’atar, but as mentioned, za’atar isn’t historically bound to one definition. Even today, some companies pay homage to the spice’s religious roots as a number of commercially available za’atar blends in Israel are labeled as “holy hyssop.”
“Modern” za’atar has long been a staple in Arab cuisine and even began to garner a reputation as a medicinal remedy around the 12th century. With such a storied history, it’s nice to know that za’atar is still a hit today. It doesn’t take long to find some food blog fawning over its transcendent taste. And, if you’re a subscriber, you’ll get your chance to spice up this month’s meals with our RawSpiceBar Za’atar Spice Blend.