FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: Why is some of Zaytoun’s oil Fairtrade and organic certified, and some not?

Q: Why is Zaytoun olive oil more expensive than many European olive oils on sale in the shops?

Q: What sizes and units are available?

 

Q: Why do you call za’atar a traditional Palestinian herb mix?

Q: Where does the name za’atar come from?

Q: Who makes Zaytoun’s za’atar?

Q: What sizes and units are available?

 

Q: Why is maftoul sometimes called couscous?

Q: What sizes and units are available?
 

Q: What’s the difference between Medjoul dates and ordinary dates?

Q: Where are the dates from?

Q: Why are dates so good for you?

Q: There’s  a white coating on my dates! What’s wrong with them?

Q: What should I do with my dates?

Q: What sizes and units are available?


Q: Why is some of Zaytoun’s oil Fairtrade and organic certified, and some not?

We support Palestinian farmers to achieve certification wherever appropriate, as a way to increase their sales and their outreach to customers overseas. Sometimes it is not appropriate to pursue certification, where the process would require an investment of time and money that is too costly for a producer. We at Zaytoun consider it important to support these producers through sales of their high-quality produce.

 

Q: Why is Zaytoun olive oil more expensive than many European olive oils on sale in the shops?

The obstacles on the journey from olive grove to shop for Palestinian olive oil are many – even to transport the olives to the village press can be a dangerous and long journey through army checkpoints. In the shipping container, pallets can only be stacked as high as a sniffer dog can jump as the container is frequently opened at checkpoints on its way to port. The producers receive no agricultural subsidy for their produce, and as the trees are rain-fed yields are smaller than in many irrigated European groves.

 

Q: What sizes and units are available?

Zaytoun’s organic Fairtrade olive oil is available in the following sizes:
• Case of 6 x 250ml
• Case of 6 x 500ml
• Case of 6 x 750ml
• Case of 4 x 5 litres


Q: Why do you call za’atar a traditional Palestinian herb mix?

Every Palestinian household has za’atar in its kitchen, and for many Palestinian refugees, za’atar is a symbol of the house, village and region from which their family came. Palestinians claim that it has the ability to increase brainpower – so many a Palestinian child is sent off to school in the morning having eaten za’atar for breakfast.  As sesame seeds, one of the ingredients, contain zinc, this claim has some basis; zinc is an important mineral in learning, memory and brain development.

 

Q: Where does the name za’atar come from?

The mixture of za’atar takes its name from the regional herb known by the same name.  Local varieties vary, as do local recipes for the mixture. The herb is known as oregano, marjoram or wintersweet.

 

Q: Who makes Zaytoun’s za’atar?

Picking and mixing the herbs that go into za’atar is a skilled job often done by women, who inherit the recipes from a long line of grandmothers. We buy ours from Sindyanna of Galilee, where women used shade-dried za’atar leaves and use a unique recipe to create a highly flavoursome mix.

 

Q: What sizes and units are available?

Zaytoun’s za’atar is available in the following sizes:
Case of 12 x 80g jars


Q: Why is maftoul sometimes called couscous?

Maftoul is made from sun-dried bulghur wheat, and is rolled by hand rather than machine – resulting in a larger, more uneven grain size.  Couscous is similar in some ways, but made from semolina flour and often machine-rolled, giving it a more even grain size.  Both can be used in pilafs, soups and salads, but the difference in taste and texture is marked – maftoul has a nuttier flavour with a teaxture that “rolls wonderfully on the tongue, which really enhances the eating experience” (Ottolenghi)

Chef Yotam Ottolenghi discusses the differences in his Guardian article

 

Q: What sizes and units are available?

Zaytoun’s couscous is available in the following size:
• Case of 6 x 250g packets
• Bulk 5kg or 25kg
 


What’s the difference between Medjoul dates and ordinary dates?

Medjoul dates are often called the ‘King of Dates’, referring to their larger size and more intense sweetness. They are more plump and sticky than other date varieties, so delicious on their own as a snack, and also useful in baking.

Where are the dates from?

Zaytoun dates are grown by Palestinian farmers in the Jordan Valley. We source from Palestinian companies who buy from farmers to store and pack their dates ready for export.

Why are dates so good for you?

They are a great source of fibre, as well as iron and potassium – and the naturally-occurring sugars are easily broken down by the body, so great for a healthy energy boost. Medjoul dates contain 16 vitamins and minerals!

There’s  a white coating on my dates! What’s wrong with them?

Our Medjoul dates should be stored in an airtight container once opened, and consumed within 2 weeks. Otherwise, the dates begin to dry out and the skin separates a little. Sugar crystals may then form as a white substance on the skin. This is not mould, and will not affect the flavour. If you prefer, you may gently warm or rinse the dates to dissolve the crystals.

What should I do with my dates?
Apart from eating them straight out of the pack? Try taking out the pit, and stuffing with Palestinian almonds, or chocolate, or a nut butter. Because the dates are so large, they are perfect for stuffing! Use them in cakes and raw energy bars – their succulent flesh makes them perfect for binding other ingredients together. Check out our recipe page for more inspiration!

What sizes and units are available?
250g, 500g, 1kg and 5kg