Do you buy herb and spice blends at the supermarket? Do you want some reasons for making your own? Well firstly, you can tweak the ratios to suit your own tastes, allergy restrictions or dietary requirements. Secondly, you can make as little or as much as you want. Thirdly, it’s cheaper to buy the ingredients and mix it up yourself, especially when you’re using herbs and spices that you’ll use on their own elsewhere, or if you’re drying your own herbs. And finally, it doesn’t go stale nearly as quickly because it isn’t spending months on a supermarket shelf.
I actually thought of this while we were away, when my brother and I were whipping up a batch of homemade za’atar for a Middle Eastern dinner we were making, but I didn’t note down the recipe or take pictures, so I made it again when we got home and am very glad to have a jar of it in the pantry. It is better than its store-bought counterpart by a country mile!
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp dried marjoram
2 Tbsp dried oregano
4 Tbsp ground sumac
1 tsp coarse salt
Toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant, just a few minutes. Set aside.
Grind the herbs, sumac and salt together with a mortar and pestle until the herbs are well crushed. Add the sesame seeds and mix well.
Store in a glass jar with a screw-top lid in a cool, dark place.
Stays fresh for several months.