FWIW, a note on Zaatar (one of a half-dozen alternative spellings, btw).
Zaatar is both the name of the spice mixture and the name of its main ingredient. The mix usually combines zaatar, sumac, and sesame.
Zaatar (Origanum syriacum) is a wild oregano, found in the Mideast. It is said to be the plant usually translated as hyssop in the bible. For instance, when the Israelites brushed their lintels with lamb's blood so the angel of death would pass over, they used "hyssop" branches to spread the blood. According to many scholars and herbalists, zaatar was the herb actually used.
I've got seed for zaatar, and one of these days I'm gonna plant it to see what happens.
Sumac, as noted, is most often associated with Mideastern cuisines. But it's certainly not confined to them. Native Americans and early settlers used sumac berries both to flavor food (it was, for instance, often used as an incredient in pemmican), but to make a lemonade-like drink.
There are several species of sumac found in North America, with staghorn being the most common. If you gather the berry clumps in the fall, it takes about eight of them to make a gallon of the faux lemonade. But it's not a bad drink.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Dude, do you prefer "Delta," "Dude" or is the whole thing best?
You wanted to know, Several years, especially if you only grate them one at a time.
As long as they're fresh, they'll give a very powerful aroma while you grate them. When you have to "smell for" the scent, as opposed to it just washing over you ... time for new.
Back in the day when people didn't use assertive spicing in the English and north-west European cuisines that so strongly influence much of "American" cooking, nutmeg got used a lot more than it does now. We tend to associate it with baking and holidays and forget its every day uses like spinach any which way and mashed potatoes. No bechamel, veloute or cream sauce is complete... Etc.
Mexican vanilla beans, penzey's new cinnamon mix....it's awesome! didn't think anything could beat out Vietnamese, orange zest, turkish oregano, parisian mix (seems like it's tarragon, chervil, dillweed parsley) whatever it is works in light chicken dishes, granulated garlic and the pricey premium curry blend.....my step mother was using old shtuff so I set up an order for her on Penzey's website.
5 minutes from my house. Smells really good in there, and they have some knowledgeable employees. Another good thing about this Penzey's is there is a big Half Price Books right next door. I like Half Price Books.