Thyme is a very popular and well known culinary herb. It is a very decorative plant while it is growing and is also very easy to grow as well but be prepared because bees just love Thyme. Many people use Thyme in stews, salads, meats, soups, and vegetables. Thyme is a very common household herb and is a member of the mint family. The plant is very aromatic and comes in many varieties. Thyme is a frequently used herb in many fish dishes. Oddly enough as much as honey bees love to suck the nectar from the Thyme plant is as much as other insects loathe it. Some people have been known to make a mist spray of Thyme and water and use it as a bug repellent.
Various forms of Thyme are available year round but many people prefer to grow their own. Nothing beats the smell and taste of fresh Thyme as long as you know to pick it just as the flowers appear. Once fresh Thyme is harvested it should be stored in either a plastic bag in the crisper or stood straight up in a glass of water on the shelf in the refrigerator for easy access.
The bad news, fresh Thyme does not have a very long shelf life, you will be lucky if it last a week. If you have selected fresh Thyme and decide to dry it then simply hang it upside down in a warm and dry atmosphere for about a week to ten days. Then you can crumble it into a powdery form and stored in a sealed dark container for no more than six months. You want to eliminate the stems as they have a tendency to have a woody taste to them.
Thyme has some medicinal purposes as well as an antiseptic, an expectorant, and deodorant properties as well. When combined with fatty meats Thyme has been known to aid in digestion too, especially with lamb, pork, and duck. Herbal medicine has used Thyme for various things such as extracts, teas, compresses, for baths, and for gargles. More modern medicine has chimed in and verified that Thyme just might strengthen the immune system.
Distilled Thyme oils have been used for the commercial use of antiseptics, toothpaste, mouthwash, gargle, hair conditioner, dandruff shampoo, potpourri, and insect repellant. It is also used in the production of certain expectorants that are prescribed for whooping cough and bronchitis. Thyme has also been used in part as an aphrodisiac and in aromatherapy oils as well.
If by some chance you are in the middle of cooking recipes that calls for Thyme and you find that you are out do not fret, it is said that you can use a pinch of oregano as a substitute if you have to. Thyme is very often used when cooking European cuisine but is essential for the correct preparation of French foods as it has that faint lemony taste to it. It has also been said that Thyme is one of the only herbs that a cook can not over season with because the flavor is so mild. Thyme is a primary spice that everyone should have stocked in their pantry.