Someone asked me if I had tried zaatar with pine seeds. Pine seeds? I knew pine nuts; pine cones; that was about it! Turns out it was a special type of zaatar that was sold in the Barouk Forest Reserve. Had to get the story on this one.
This is a type of zaatar sold in just a few places in the country, including at the Reserve; it sells out quickly. The forest ranger told me how it came about. Apparently he and other rangers got the recipe from some grannies in the villages. The pine seeds are from local pine trees and are gathered at certain times of the year and totally edible. They add a pleasant crunch to the zaatar, are just a bit bigger than sesame seeds. This zaatar mix does not contain sumac, therefore it is not lemony or sour.
I am endlessly discovering more and more edible, natural foods during my weekend trips to the mountains.
Did you know pine seeds were edible? This zaatar is foraged from local wild zaatar (oregano) plants and local pine trees from the forests nearby.
Research led me to this site which claims that even pine bark is edible and can be boiled and fried like French fries! (with a listing of all the pine trees in Texas).