Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Thyme has a piney and peppery taste with bitter, slightly lemony and minty notes.
Thyme has an herbaceous and slightly floral aroma. It loses its aroma quickly with heat.
As a member of the mint family, thyme is a herb that pairs well with a variety of foods and is often used to flavour meats, soups and stews. Thyme is quite flavourful but does not overpower and blends well with other herbs and spices. Thyme pairs well with goose, duck, pork, tomato sauces, stuffings, roasts, fish and wine. For delicious potatoes add thyme and sea salt to your spuds, and then roast.
Growing thyme attracts bees. It is hard to grow in more tropical areas that are warm and humid. It is best to cut thyme back hard after flowering, if not the plant may become too depleted. To grow thyme use well drained soil. It is best to plant time during late spring in an area that provides full sun.
Regular harvesting of the plant promotes further growth so it is best to pick sprigs off as often as you may need them.
Thyme is a perennial plant, though after 3 year the plant does become woody and has a higher chance of becoming diseased, so it is best to replace.
Thyme has been long known for its antiseptic properties, because of this thyme was burned after sacrifices to clear the temple. During the 15th and 17th century plagues thyme was an important property in combatting the plagues. During World War I thyme was an important antiseptic to the soldiers.
The name thyme means ‘fumigate’ it was used in the early days as incense. Saying someone smelt of thyme in Ancient Greek was one of the greatest compliments that could be given.
Roman soldier bathed in water infused with thyme as thyme was a symbol of courage; it gave them vigour and made them fearless.
In the Mediterranean region thyme was used in cooking because they believed it boosted their spirits. Thyme was historically used for ‘psychological problems such as shyness, nightmares and melancholy
Thyme can relieve congestion in the head and chest. It has been used as a gargle to relieve sore throats and mouth ulcers. Contained in thyme is thymol which has been used as a topical antibiotic, though too much can be toxic.
Thyme can be used as a mild insect repellent.
Does thyme need full sun?
Yes it is best to plant thyme in full sun, it is important that the soil is well draining so the plant does not develop root rot
Should thyme be cut back?
Yes by pruning the thyme plant you encourage extra growth.