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Fresh or dried, thyme leaves and flowers lend a sprightly essence to flavouring casseroles, soups, stews, and sautéed vegetables.  Chopped fresh or dried and combined with parsley and bay leaves, thyme is used to season stock, stews, and soups. Eggs, meats, fish, and bean dishes are all enhanced with a sprinkling of thyme.

No kitchen should be without the heady, aromatic flavour of thyme. There are many different varieties It's also another perennial herb that doesn't need much extra care in order to enjoy year after year.

Thyme is very easy to grow,
Thyme leaves are curled, elliptically shaped and very small, especially in sun shine, thriving in rocky crevices or containers, with woody stems and
base.

While this is an herb notable for deterring garden pests like beetles, the flowers  are known for the nectar they generate, which attracts bees that
subsequently produce thyme- infused honey.

Thyme controls blemishes and acne ,

Thyme is so versatile that it's also sought after for soap, toothpaste, cosmetics, perfume, and antibacterial cream.

How to Plant Thyme :-
Thyme is another culinary herb that makes bringing fresh flavour to the kitchen an easy process. It thrives in hot conditions, loves full-sun, and doesn't need constant watering or attention. Plant thyme in both containers and within the garden. I like to plant mine near my rosemary, since their needs are nearly identical. I even let a couple of my thyme plants flower, since the bees love it so much.

How to Cultivate Thyme
Soil: Plant thyme in well-drained soil .you may fertilise with organic matter, like compost, but not much soil amendment is necessary.

Sun: Thyme needs a growing area with plenty of sunlight. Indoors, find a sunny window for your thyme. In the garden, intersperse among other drought-tolerant perennials in an area that receives full sun.

Water: Most varieties of thyme are drought-resistant, so only give a thorough watering, when the soil is completely dry.

Companion planting: Thyme thrives in sunny conditions, so if you are growing thyme in containers, plant with rosemary, which also has similar watering needs.

Grow thyme from small plants - available at the Diyawanna plant sale
How to Harvest Thyme

In order to obtain the best and most potent flavor, harvest thyme just before the plant flowers. Thyme is one of those herbs, like oregano or sage which tastes great both fresh and dried. I clip a few sprigs as needed,

Really, the more you trim your thyme, the more it grows. Cut fresh stems in the morning, leaving behind tough, woody portions. Leave behind at least five inches of growth, so that the plant can still flourish. Regular pruning not only encourages more growth, but also promotes a more rounded shape.


Health benefits of thyme :-

Thyme goes beyond many other herbs with its endless uses and ointments for fighting infection in scrapes and cuts, and cough elixirs and mouthwashes .
Thyme is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is a very good source of vitamin A too.

The essential oil of common thyme is made up of 54% thymol. Thymol is an antiseptic and is the main active ingredient in Listerine mouthwash. It was used to medicate bandages before the advent of modern antibiotics. It is also the active ingredient in some all-natural, alcohol-free hand sanitisers.

The Abbess Hildegard von Bingen stated, "He who drinks a cup of thyme tea instead of coffee in the morning will soon feel the beneficial effect: enlivened spirits, great comfort in the stomach, no coughing in the morning and an overall well-being."

How to make thyme tea - Boil a pot of water and then add the leaves of the plant. Let the tea sit for an additional two minutes before drinking.

One of the best uses for thyme is to make a herb pillow. This is much smaller than a normal bed pillow, of course, and would be placed under your pillow at night to help you sleep, especially if you have insomnia.

Herb pillows are usually made out of a double layer of loose-weave material. This helps prevent the herb from escaping from the pillow, while allowing the scent to escape freely. To make a herb pillow, you first need to dry the leaves. This is best achieved by hanging up bunches of the herb somewhere nice and airy and not too humid (steamy kitchens or laundry rooms are best avoided). After the leaves have dried they can be stripped off the branches and used to stuff your pillow, or as part of a mixture of other herbs. How to make an herb pillow - The herbs are placed into a pillow and sown up.

Tips for Preparing and Cooking :-Thyme, either in its fresh or dried form, should be added toward the end of the cooking process since heat can easily cause a loss of its delicate flavour.

Add thyme to your favorite pasta sauce recipe.
Fresh thyme adds a wonderful fragrance to omelets and scrambled eggs.
Hearty beans such as kidney beans, pinto beans and black beans taste exceptionally good when seasoned with thyme.
When poaching fish, place some sprigs of thyme on top of the fish and in the poaching liquid.
Season soups and stocks by adding fresh thyme.

Thyme flavoured oven chips

Ingredients
2 large sweet potatoes scrubbed
1-2 large Potatoes scrubbed
4 sprigs thyme leaves only
1 tsp ground cumin
1 pinch chilli flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp hot smoked paprika
Salt

Method
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Cut the sweet potatoes into thick wedges and put into a large mixing bowl. Cut the white potatoes into slightly thinner wedges (they take longer to cook so need to be slightly smaller for an equal cooking time) and add to the bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss until the wedges are evenly coated. Season with sea salt then spread over a non-stick baking tray in an even layer. (Put the sweet potatoes in the centre and the white potatoes round the edge of the tray where it will be hotter.)
Cook for 20-25 minutes, checking after 10 minutes, shaking and turning occasionally, until cooked through. If the sweet potatoes are cooked before the others are ready then remove them from the oven and leave the rest to cook for longer.


Thyme and cream infused cabbage

Ingredients
200ml vegetable or chicken stock
¼ cabbage shredded
100ml double cream
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
25g butter chopped

Method
Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan, then add the cabbage. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until softened, then stir in the cream and thyme.
Cook for a further 2-3 minutes, or until the cabbage is completely softened, then stir in the butter. Serve.

Thyme in beauty daily care :-
Add It To a Daily Facial Scrub

Just grind up dried thyme with your other ingredients, add it to your scrub in a proportionate amount, and use daily!

Make a Fresh Thyme Facial Mask
The only way it makes sense to harness the power of fresh thyme is with a facial mask. You can do this once a week and see how it helps.

Fresh Thyme Facial Mask for Acne and Blemishes

1 Tbsp fresh thyme, leaves only
1 Tbsp sour cream
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp unfiltered honey (optional)
In a blender or small food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until the thyme is in very small pieces. Apply to a clean face and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse well. (Be careful going outside for a while afterwards, as lemon juice makes your skin photosensitive to the sun.)

Happy growing

Shaminaz Deen
Author: Shaminaz Deen

Shaminaz is a home gardener. She gorws her own chilies, capsicums, mangoes and even roses. Cinnamon and black pepper.

She uses all natural ingredients to protect her plants from snails and bugs.

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