Newest Review: ... friend to water! The plant will produce tiny green leaves on a thin woody stem. In the summer Thyme produces small delicate flowers that c... more
Take your Thyme!
Member Name: anwar7
Advantages: easy to grow,health benefits and flavour
Disadvantages: none for me
There are numerous varieties of thyme including the wild Thyme I love to see in Provence and lemon Thyme. I grow the common Varity known as Thymus Vulgaris. Thyme is really easy to grow and requires very little looking after. I bought my Thyme in pots from a local nursery but it can easily be grown from seed. Thyme does best in a sunny warm spot with well drained soil. It is a native of the Mediterranean where it grows well in hot sun and poor soil. It doesn't like to be overwaterd as this will cause the roots to rot. Planting is easy, just dig a hole and push the plant in! That's it! No compost or other fussing! Thyme is best planted in spring and is slow growing. It will grow from 6 to 10 inches in height and is quite a bushy herb. I prune my Thyme plants hard in the spring to [prevent them from becoming too woody. Thyme is a perennial herb.
Thyme can also be planted in pots and grown on a sunny kitchen widow sill or outside. If you are away for a few weeks this is one plant you won't have to ask a friend to water! The plant will produce tiny green leaves on a thin woody stem. In the summer Thyme produces small delicate flowers that can be pale lilac or white. The leaves are very aromatic and both the flowers and leaves are edible. Thyme can be harvested at any time of year and used fresh or it can be dried.
Its uses and benefits
Thyme has many uses in the kitchen and is also a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. The ancient Egyptians used Thyme to embalm and the Greeks used it in their incense burnt in temples. The Romans believed bathing in Thyme would give them energy and courage and it was also used in their homes to freshen the air; certainly a lot better than the chemicals we rely on today! In the Middle Ages Thyme was used in the posies carried by the middle classes to ward off germs and bad smells. As we now know that Thyme contains Thymol an essential oil with antiseptic and antifungal properties, this was not such an odd idea!
Thyme is also rich in vitamins and minerals. Its leaves contain potassium, Iron and calcium. Potassium helps to control heart rate and blood pressure. The more I learn about plants, the more I realise just how beneficial they really are! The leaves also contain Vitamins B, A, K, C and folic acid. Fresh Thyme is by far superior to dried and you should aim to use bright green leaves as these are the freshest and will give the most health benefits. Dried Thyme is also good at repelling insects!
I like to cut my Thyme fresh from my garden as I need it. However it can be stored in the fridge. I do sometimes cut too much and then I simply wrap it in damp kitchen paper and place in a plastic bag before putting it in the fridge.
Not only is Thyme good for your health, but it also tastes amazing as far as I am concerned! It can be used in numerous dishes and goes especially well with roast chicken. Before I put the chicken into the oven I push a few sprigs of Thyme under the skin. I also like to put a few slices of fresh lemon over the chicken before covering with foil and roasting. Thyme is good with the roast potatoes too! Just remove the leaves from the stem and liberally sprinkle over the potatoes before roasting. Really does take the roast to a new level! Thyme is also excellent with roast lamb.
I use my slow cooker a lot and always add some Thyme. It keeps its flavour well during the long, slow cooking process and is not overpowering. Thyme can also be used with other herbs such as Rosemary and sage.
Thyme is especially good with roasted vegetables. I like to roast Mediterranean vegetables including tomato, aubergine, pepper and courgette in a little olive oil. As Thyme is a native of these parts it follows that it will be a good partnership and a few springs added to the roasting dish will add a wonderful flavour and scent.
I add Thyme to baked fish dishes, placing a few sprigs into a foil packet before baking in the oven. As you can see the uses are numerous! During the summer the flowers can be used in salads and drinks, although this is not something I have tried.
Overall I love this Herb! It is really easy to grow and needs little looking after. It is a real powerhouse of vitamins and minerals and I love its intense,aromatic flavour!