It is used to flavour meats, soups and stews and has several medicinal propertiesThyme is a genus of about 350 species of aromatic perennial herbaceous plants and sub-shrubs that grow 40 cm tall. It belongs to the family Lamiaceae and is native to Europe, North Africa and Asia. The ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming. The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing that thyme was a source of courage. It was thought that the spread of thyme throughout Europe was thanks to the Romans who used it to purify their rooms.In Germany, concoctions of thyme are frequently prescribed for cough. Thyme is used in herbal teas prepared for colds and flus. Thyme is prescribed by herbalists for intestinal worms, gastrointestinal ailments, bronchial problems, laryngitis, diarrhoea and lack of appetite. It has antiseptic properties, and can be used as a mouthwash, skin cleanser, anti-fungal agent for athlete's foot and as an anti-parasitic for lice and scabies. For skin inflammations and sores, make a poultice by mashing the leaves into a paste. Thyme oil or infusion can be added to the bath to relieve rheumatism and bronchial difficulties.
Culinary usesThyme is grown for its strong flavour, which is due to the presence of thymol in it. It retains its flavour on drying better than many other herbs.Thyme is often used to flavour meats, soups and stews. It is used in French and Caribbean cuisines.Thyme is often used in bouquet-garni, which is a small sprig of fresh herbs tied together and simmered in various dishes. Since it is a herb that helps the body digest fatty foods, it is often used as an ingredient in those kinds of dishes. Now, for a recipe.
Thyme scented floweretsIngredients
Cauliflower: 2 flowers
Broccoli: 2 flowers
Garlic: 10 cloves
Celery sticks: 1
Olive oil: 50ml
Salt to taste
Crushed peppercorns, for seasoning
Red wine: 30mlMethod: Cut the cauliflower and broccoli into small flowerets. Soak the flowerets in salt water for 15 minutes. Remove the flowerets and blanch in water by adding salt. Pour olive oil in a pan and saute chopped onion and garlic. Add the chopped celery stem and add the flowerets to it and saute with the ingredients. Add the red wine in it and toss well.Add chopped thyme leaves and toss well. Add salt and peppercorn and check for seasoning. Finish with thyme scented oil to give a gloss and to enhance the thyme flavour.Thyme scented oilDry roast the chopped thyme stems. Heat oil in a pan and pour it on the thyme and store the oil. This can be used to finish any dish and enhance its flavour.N. GOBI
Sous Chef, Taj Connemara