Thyme | Thymus Vulgaris | Lamiaceae

Thyme has a warm scent that is spicy-herby, powerful, woody-green, refreshing, stimulating and purifying.

Lemon And Thyme Sorbet
Thyme cultivation

There are 350 species with a wide variety of fragrances, flavours and uses. Most are sun loving, perennial woody subshrubs or creeping woody plants with a neat habit that are high in fragrant essential oils. It is is an obliging evergreen, perennial subshrub that thrives in dry sunny areas. Use for borders, amongst your paving, on the edges of paths or in an entire bed. The plant requires good drainage and a sunny position. Raise from seed in spring and propagate varieties by cuttings, and by division. The leaves are low in moisture and easily air dried out of direct sunlight. Even dried, the leaves retain their flavour.

Which one to buy?

Look for cultivars of the common thyme, including vulgaris erectus, silver posie and lemon scented thyme as well as herba-barona (caraway/seed cake),  and fragrantissimus (azores/orange peel). Wild varieties include serpyllum, vey, Annie Hall, elfin and russetings.

Sourdough Bread and Black Cherry And Thyme Jam
How to use

Thyme is a major culinary herb in Europe where is shines in slow cooked casseroles and dishes containing meat, poultry or game. Use when cooking chicken or fish, in stuffings, as well as vegetable and cheese dishes. To me it is an essential herb when cooking mushrooms. Thyme can be assertive and dominate other milder flavours so robust companions, such as onions, red wine and garlic work well. Use the herb in terrines, pâtés, meat pies, marinades, eggplant and tomato dishes and thick vegetable based soups. Dried thyme is often used in the jambalayas and gumbos of Creole and Cajun cooking. It is one of the most common herbs in a bouquet garni, along with sage, rosemary, parsley, marjoram and bay leaves. Add fresh sprigs to oils and vinegars to infuse them, as well as mulled wine.

Information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs and The Essential Aromatherapy GardenMake sure you take a look at these caveats before using an essential oil, and if possible, buy organic.

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