Thyme is a famous herb, and like parsley, this herb is also used everywhere around. Thyme belongs to the thymus genus of plants. It is an aromatic perennial herb that is from the Lamiaceae family, commonly known as mint. This herb is the cousin of oregano which belongs to the origanum genus of plants. Thyme is widely used for different purposes such as ornamental, culinary, and medical.
The type of thyme that is cultivated for culinary purposes is called the Thymus vulgaris. This herb has a long history of usage. It was used by the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans. They mainly cultivated this plant for its health benefits. But with time, its use spread, and currently, people use it for different purposes. And the culinary purpose of this herb stays on top of the list, which is also discussed in the coming paragraphs.
What does Thyme Look Like?
Thyme contains tiny perennial shrub, which can be grown in pods and open space both. This herb has small leaves that grow on different stems opposite to each other. These stems are extremely thin that form clusters. The shape of leaves falls between linear and oval. It varies based on its type and the region where it is produced.
Along with the leaves, the thyme plant also has a flowering top. The flowers are small and tabular. They are borne in whorls. The color of the flowers is either white or purple. Its flowers make the plant more attractive.
Where does Thyme Come From?
Thyme comes from the Mediterranean region. But its existence can be traced back to ancient times. The ancient Egyptians used this herb for their embalming ritual due to its exceptional antiseptic characteristics. Besides, for Romans, this herb was a symbol of strength. They exchanged thyme among themselves. They used this herb for pin springing their garment before every battle.
Moreover, Romans also burned thyme branches to purify their homes and other places. But gradually, this herb was used for different purposes, which also includes its culinary usage. And now, thyme is cultivated and used in almost all parts of the world.
How is Thyme Made?
Every herb-making process begins by growing the plant. Once the plant reaches the growth stage, they are harvested for their various parts based on spice or herb. However, for producing thyme, you don’t have to wait for the plant to grow completely. Wait until the leaves grow. But make sure to cut them before the plant starts producing flowers.
Cut around the top 5 to 6 inches of growth. During the process, do not incorporate the woody and tough parts. Once you collect the leaves, do not wash them. Just clean the leaves. The fresh leaves are ready for use. You can also follow an additional step for drying the leaves.
What Does Thyme Taste Like?
The taste of thyme is highly pronounced and concentrated herbal. It has a very sharp note of few flavors like floral, grass, and wood. And these flavors are highly visible. Due to these notes, thyme has a high resemblance with rosemary and lavender in flavor.
How is Thyme Used in Cooking?
While using fresh thyme leaves, just pick the leaves and add them to cooking. There is no requirement for when to add this herb. Besides, you also have the flexibility to either chop the leaves or use them whole. The leaves are tough. So, it may take some time to cook.
If you are using the leaves with a stem, then make sure to remove them when the food is cooked because the stems are hard and do not break down despite being cooked.
What Types of Cuisines Use Thyme?
Due to the exceptional flavor of this spice, it is used in a wide range of cuisines. The list includes eggs, fish, meats, soups, vegetables, poultry, pasta, pizza, sauces, cheeses, and even normal food stuffing.
What is a Thyme Substitute?
Like all other herbs, thyme also has few great substitutions. These are rosemary, oregano, sage, dried basil, and marjoram. Except for basil, you can also use fresh forms of these herbs.
Where to Buy Thyme?
Thyme is a common spice. You can easily find fresh thyme leaves around you. However, if you are looking for its dry leaves, you have to search for them because they may not be easily available. But don’t worry because we have it for you. We have picked few best products for you.
Along with having good quality, these products are also available online. So, you can get them on your doorsteps. They are listed below.
- McCormick Culinary Thyme Leaves, 6 oz
- 365 by WFM, Thyme, 0.49 Ounce
- Frontier Co-op Thyme Leaf, Fancy Grade, Kosher, Non-irradiated | 1 lb. Bulk Bag | Thymus vulgaris L.
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