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The Thyme plant (Thymus vulgaris) is a popular fragrant herb that is found growing in kitchens all over the world. It’s well-known for its versatility and is therefore used as an ingredient to flavor many different dishes.
Thyme is native to the Mediterranean region and actually comes in over fifty different varieties. Each variety varies in terms of its flavor and fragrance, and some are only ornamental. However, it’s most common to grow and use Thyme for its culinary uses.
It is adapted to live in hot, dry conditions, meaning that it needs a lot less frequent watering than some other more water-loving herbs.
Thyme is a hardy drought-resistant perennial that doesn’t require all too much care in order to do well. It’ll be happiest when kept in full sun and in warm conditions. Place it on a sunny windowsill where it’ll get plenty of light and try to ensure it is planted in a well-draining soil.
If Thyme is allowed to get too wet, it can quickly die off. This is why it’s important to ensure yours isn’t planted in a soil that is too heavy or contains too much clay, as this will cause it to drain the water too slowly. Never allow it to sit in water – if you keep your Thyme on a dish, be sure to empty out any water that collects in the dish after watering. Don’t allow the soil to completely dry out between waterings, but note that Thyme has a much low watering need than other herbs.
You can harvest your Thyme all year round, but if you intend to consume it then the flavor is strongest during the summer period.
Thyme can also produce small flowers in shades of pink, light purple or white depending on the variety. However, it’s a good idea to pinch these off if you want to harvest your Thyme, as producing flowers takes the plant’s energy away from producing the edible foliage.
This little herb has a lot of history! It’s been used in cooking, as well as medicinally, for over two thousand years. The Ancient Egyptians used to utilize Thyme as part of the embalming process as a means of purification and preservation. It was also prized by the Ancient Greeks, who believed it to be a symbol of courage. Roman soldiers would bathe in Thyme-infused water in order to help promote strength and vigor. Additionally, it’s said that during the Middle Ages, sprigs of Thyme were embroidered onto the scarves of knights in order to instil bravery.
In cooking, Thyme is often used to add flavor to meat dishes, soup, stews and vegetables, among other things. It can be used either fresh or dried – drying allows it to be stored and used all year round.