Thyme is a versatile herb with many culinary uses and other useful properties.
Cooking with Thyme
Thyme is often used in southern European cuisines, such as French, Italian and Greek cookery, to flavour salads, soups, sauces, bread, vegetable and meat dishes – even desserts.
Reputed to assist good digestion, thyme is especially popular as an accompaniment to fatty meat dishes such as lamb and duck.
Dried thyme is often used when the fresh herb isn’t available. Bouquet garni, a classic mix of herbs common in French cookery, always features sprigs of thyme. Likewise, thyme is a key flavour in the French liqueur Benedictine.
Yet nothing beats the pungent, inspiring scent and taste of fresh thyme!
That’s what we sell at the Village Herb Farm.
History and Botany
Thyme is a perennial evergreen shrub whose use is recorded from the days of ancient Egypt. There are many references to thyme in the literature of classical Greece and Rome – and it’s been a bedrock of European cuisine ever since.
There are actually over 100 species of ‘thyme’, although the most common used are Garden Thyme and Lemon Thyme. Many species are so close in appearance it’s hard to tell them apart. All thymes are members of the mint family.
Although wild thyme honey is famous for its delicious taste, insects are generally repelled by thyme. In southern Europe potpourris containing sprigs of thyme are often used to keep air fresh and insect free.
Many herbalists use thyme in infusions, teas, compresses, bath oils and gargles. Recent studies suggest thyme may strengthen the human immune system.
The flowering tops of thyme bushes contains essential oils consisting primarily of thymol and carvacrol. These have antiseptic and deodorant properties.
Distilled thyme oils are used commercially in antiseptics, toothpaste, mouthwash, hair conditioner, skin cleanser, various other toiletries and insect repellents.