Zaatar Salad from the Garden

One of my favorite ways to use my Zaatar herbs from my garden is by making fresh Zaatar Salad.

Son Juicing Lemons for Zaatar Salad
Son helping me juice fresh lemons from the garden to add to the Zaatar Salad Dressing.

A recipe that is so simple, but so tasty and healthy:

  • 1-2 Bunches of Zaatar Herbs (Thymbra Spicata, Summer Savory, etc.)
  • 1 Lemon, Juiced
  • 1 tsp. sumac
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Vinegar (Apple Cider is my favorite)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1-2 Chopped Onions
  • 1 Bunch of Parsley (Optional)
Thymbra Spicata Zaatar plant
Great Zaatar Variety for making Zaatar Salad, Thymbra Spicata.

 

Thymbra Spicata Zaatar Cuttings
Freshly cut Zaatar to make Zaatar Salad.

 

Thymbra Spicata Zaata Salad Prep
Mincing freshly picked Zaatar to make Zaatar Salad.

 

Cut Onion for Zaatar Salad
Chopping freshly picked onions from the garden.

 

Salad Dressing Zaatar Salad
Olive Oil, Lemon Juice and Sumac to add a fresh dressing to a Zaatar Salad.

 

Fresh Zaatar Salad
Freshly Made Zaatar Salad, Yum!

 

Fresh Zaatar Salad and Zaatar Mix
Freshly made Zaatar Salad with freshly made Zaatar mix.

Tasty Homemade Zaatar Herb Mix

The following is a link of a quick video of this Zaatar Herb Tea Mix.

I love going through my herb garden and looking for different herbs to make tea mixes.  Recently our family went through a bit of a chest and head cold.

To help elevate the discomfort of having a head and chest cold, I went out and gathered fresh herbs to create an herbal tea.

Zaatar Herb Tea Mix 1
Keeping Zaatar Herbs moist and cleaning with cool water.

A hint with collecting herbs for immediate use is while collecting herbs you place the freshly cut herbs into a bowl of cool water.  This helps the herbs stay fresh longer and retain a healthy level of essential oils within the leaves and stems.

Zaatar Herb Tea Mix 2
My own Special Combination of Zaatar Herb Tea Mix.

The image above is the Special Zaatar Herb Tea Mix that I gathered.

List of the herbs and spices starting from the bottom corner working clockwise:

Herbs (grown from home garden)

Spices (in the center of the plate – bought from store)

  • Star of Anise
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon Stick
Zaatar Herb Tea Mix 3
Zaatar Herb Tea Mix Brewing.

I added all of the herbs and spices into my tea kettle, added about 1 tablespoon of raw honey and let it boil for about 5 minutes.

Drinking the tea definitely help sooth my throat, lessen my cough and made me feel calm.

**These are only my observation of myself, please consult your physician if you feel or are ill.

Mexicola Avocado Tree

Out of all the avocado trees, one of the most hardiest is the Mexicola Avocado Tree.  The Mexicola Avocado is one of my most prized fruit-bearing trees in my backyard garden.

I love making guacamole and adding just a little bit of my homemade Zaatar mix directly from the garden.

Mexicola Avocado Tree
One of the hardiest avocado trees – Mexicola.

The taste of the Mexicola Avocado is extremely good, nutty and creamy.  It also has a very thin (almost paper-thin) glossy black skin that is also edible.  It is very fast growing and like all other avocados, it is evergreen.

Mexicola Avocado Tree Flower
Mexicola Avocado Flower Clusters.

My Mexicola Avocado flowers twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall.

The skin and leaves have a anise-like flavor and smell.  The leaves can be used to make a great tea.

The frost does absolutely nothing to these tough trees, even down to 18 degrees F.

Mexicola Avocado is a Type A avocado tree.

Cortunix Japanese Quail

The Cortunix Japanese Quail is known as an Old World Quail.  It is stated that these birds have been dated back with the Egyptians during the construction of the Pyramids (raising them for eggs, pets and meat).

Japanese Quail Hens
My backyard Cortunix Japanese Quail Hens.

When I was around 14 years old, I was raising over 100 Northern Bobwhite quails.

I missed raising these hardy, beautiful birds and I didn’t want my son, Shant Varoug, to miss out.

I decided to begin starting to raise quail again, the variety I chose was the Cortunix Japanese Quail.

Cortunix Quail
Cortunix Japanese Quail.

I am only raising five (5) females, I chose only raising Quail Hens because they are MUCH quieter than male quails (close neighbors) and that I want eggs for consumption, not baby chicks.  I do not want to eat the meat either.

The reason why I wanted to return to raising quail birds again was because that I am in big disagreement with how commercial chicken egg production is conducted.  Yes, California passed a law to give more space for chickens that are laying eggs, but I’m sorry, growing the laying cage from 1 square foot to 2 square feet is not much of an improvement.

Also, eggs are increasingly becoming more and more expensive.

There are other reasons why I chose quail instead of growing another fowl:

  • Fowl are not allowed in my dwelling from the city
  • Quail eggs are much more nutritious
  • Cortunix Japanese Quail produce up to 300 eggs a year!!!
  • Quail eggs are more expensive
  • Less smelling bird
  • Everyone always wants to see quail (growers are rare)
  • Less food and water requirements
  • Less space requirements
  • Much quieter than chickens (chickens don’t shut up)
  • Not as prone to disease
  • Smarter (I might be biased)

I constructed the Quail Cage or Quail Pen out of PVC.

Son Cleaning Quail Pen 2
My son, Shant, cleaning the quail cage.

I had a lot of fun building the quail cage.  Don’t get me wrong, there were frustrations.  I was a bit worried building the quail pen out of PVC, but it was VERY EASY.  I just have to put exterior white paint on the PVC side that faces the sun so that the PVC will not degrade as quickly.

Son Cleaning Quail Pen 1
Shant ensuring he got spots that he missed.

Quail Cage Dimensions

The Quail Cage is 5.5 feet by 10.5 feet and 5.5 feet tall.

Activities

I placed an old log I had from chopping down a old tree in my backyard.  This will allow the quail birds to have fun jumping on, running around and eating bugs off of.  Quail Love Bugs!!!

Son and Grandpa Quail Pen
Grandpa and Grandson putting up the wire.

How to make Zaatar Spice

The most important use of the herb Origanum Syriacum (a type of Zaatar plant) is by making Zaatar Spice.

Step 1

First step in make Zaatar Spice is by taking the Zaatar herb leaves off of the plant.

Bundle of crushed Zaatar
Grabbing a big clump of freshly dried Zaatar.

Step 2

Place raw Sesame Seeds into a frying pan and roast on top of a stove (preferably a gas stove).

Sesame Seeds Zaatar
Another key ingredient in Zaatar mix is Sesame Seeds.
Roasted Sesame Seeds Zaatar
Sesame Seeds in a frying pan till roasted.

Step 3

Add Sumac or Sumaq to Zaatar leaves.  Sumac is a red berry that will add tartness to the Zaatar Spice.

Sumac
Sumac adds tartness to the Zaatar mix.
Sumac and Zaatar
Add Sumac to the dry Zaatar herbs.

Step 4

Add the roasted Sesame Seeds to the Zaatar Spice mix.

Sesame Seed & Zaatar
Mix roasted Sesame Seeds into Zaatar mix.

Step 5

Place the Zaatar Spice into a mortar and pestle or electric blender.  Crush the mix till there is a soft and fluffy consistency.

Crush Zaatar Mix
Crush Zaatar in Mortar and Pestle
Add Zaatar mixture to Blener
Blender is just as good as using a mortar and pestle with mixing Zaatar.

Step 6

Add additional spices – Salt, crushed dried garbanzo beans, cumin, fennel, anise, etc..

** I do not add anything else but Zaatar herbs, Sumac & Sesame Seeds. **

Step 7 – Optional

I always test my mix by placing a small amount of Zaatar Spice with olive oil to see the ratio of sumac, zaatar herb and sesame seeds within the mix.  Creating a small amount of Zaatar Paste is key to testing your newly created Zaatar Spice mix.

Zaatar Olive Oil Test
Testing Zaatar Mix Consistency.