Thyme is a delicate herb in appearance. Its tiny rounded leaves grow in clusters around its thinly wooded stems. The leaves measure a mere one-eighth inch in diameter. Younger leaves are bright green and fade to grey-green with age. It delivers layers of woodsy, savory and mint flavors and retains its flavor better than most herbs when dried. But fresh thyme is still preferred.
This aromatic and widely used culinary herb also happens to be the main ingredient in bouquet garni and one of the principle ingredients in Herbs de Provence. Thyme thrives as a garden herb as it is a natural insect repellent. Only honey bees are attracted to its productive flowers. Beehives near thyme sources produce savory honey.
Used to season stocks, stews and soups, it can be used as a stand alone herb or in savory combinations. Use to flavor marinades with sea salt, rosemary, lemon zest and olive oil. Thyme pairs well with seafood, red meat and poultry. Thyme releases its flavors slowly so it is favored in slow and long cooking application. Add to root vegetables and autumn fruits, or infuse in syrups and oils. To store, keep cool and dry until ready to use.
Thyme is perhaps the single most used herb as an essential ingredient in cuisines across the globe, ranging from the Caribbean, Europe, North America, South and Central America the Mediterranean and beyond.
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