Cherished for its distinctive taste and aroma, zaatar is one of Lebanon’s most flavorsome herbs. Zeinab Jeambey from the Food Heritage Foundation explores the different varieties and what makes each unique.
Mohamad Nehme, known as Abou Kassem, is one of the first few Lebanese farmers who domesticated “Zaatar”, wild thyme plant – Origanum syriacum – which is usually collected in the wild. Through natural selection, Abou Kassem was gradually able to breed his own thyme plants with desirable traits.
Though specializing in Zaatar production, Abou Kassem also cultivates sage and lavender and produces distillates and essence oils from these aromatic plants. He also has a wide variety of products such as dry sumac, roasted sesame seeds and dry zaatar flowers.
Today, Abou Kassem is spreading zaatar plantation all over the country and teaching farmers the best practices to obtain the best quality. You can visit his farm in Zawtar, Nabatieh – South of Lebanon and check his facebook page.
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