A delicate looking plant with a penetrating fragrance, it's a wonderful addition to bean, egg and vegetable dishes.
Both fresh and dried varieties are available in your local supermarket throughout the year.
The leaves are curled, elliptically shaped and very small, measuring about one-eighth of an inch long and one-sixteenth of an inch wide.
The upper leaf is green-gray in color on top, while the underside is a whitish color.
Along with fresh sprigs of parsley and bay leaves, it's included in the French combination of herbs called bouquet-garni used to season stock, stews and soups.
It has a long history of use in natural medicine in connection with chest and respiratory problems including coughs, bronchitis, and chest congestion.
It's also a powerful antioxidant as well as an antiseptic.
Significant Anti-Oxidant Protection of Cellular Membranes
Thymol, which is named after the herb itself, is the primary volatile oil constituent of thyme, and its health-supporting effects are well documented.
In studies on aging in rats, thymol has been found to protect and significantly increase the percentage of healthy fats found in cell membranes and other cell structures.
In particular, the amount of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid) in brain, kidney, and heart cell membranes was increased after dietary supplementation with thyme.
Thyme-spice also contains a variety of flavonoids, including apigenin, naringenin, luteolin, and thymonin.
These flavonoids increase thyme's antioxidant capacity, and combined with its status as a very good source of manganese, give thyme a high standing on the list of anti-oxidant foods.
A Nutrient-Dense Spice
The range of other health-supportive nutrients found in thyme is also impressive.
This food emerged from our food ranking system as an excellent source of iron and manganese, a very good source of calcium and a food source of dietary fiber.
Thyme-spice has been used since ancient times for its culinary, aromatic and medicinal properties.
The ancient Egyptians used it as an embalming agent to preserve their deceased pharaohs.
In ancient Greece, thyme was widely used for its aromatic qualities, being burned as incense in sacred temples.
Thyme was also a symbol of courage and admiration with the phrase "the smell of thyme" being a saying that reflected praise unto its subject.
Thyme's association with bravery continued throughout medieval times when it was a ritual for women to give their knights a scarf that had a sprig of thyme placed over an embroidered bee.
Since the 16th century, thyme oil has been used for its antiseptic properties, both as a mouthwash and a topical application.
How to Select and Store
Whenever possible, choose fresh thyme-spice over the dried form of the herb since it is superior in flavor.
The leaves of fresh thyme should look fresh and be a vibrant green-gray in color.
They should also be free from dark spots or yellowing.
Fresh thyme should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel.
Dried thyme should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place where it will keep fresh for about six months.
Tips for Preparing Thyme:
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 flavor.
A Few Quick Serving Ideas:
Drink a tea made from lemon thyme to treat colds before bed.
Warning: don’t use thyme when pregnant.
Add thyme to your favorite pasta sauce recipe.
Fresh thyme-spice 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-spice.
When poaching fish, place some sprigs of thyme-spice on top of the fish and in the poaching liquid.
Season soups and stocks by adding fresh thyme.
Thyme-spice is an excellent source of iron, manganese, and vitamin-K.
It's also a very good source of calcium and a good source of dietary fiber.
Growing it: Plant in dry, light soil.
Thyme essential oil is the most effective to almost completely eliminate bacteria within 60 minutes.
It's been discovered that thyme essential oil was found to be a particularly effective antibacterial agent against staphylococcus bacteria.
These bacteria are commonly found on the skin.
They can cause infection in a person whose immune system is already compromised.
When staphylococcus becomes drug-resistant, it can be very difficult to treat.
Researchers have concluded that essential oils can be a cheap and effective treatment option for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as the type found in hospital settings.
A little food for thought when it comes to protecting yourself against bacterial infection.
And speaking of food, here's a great recipe;
Wild Rice Pilaf
If you want a rice pilaf for special occasions this recipe is for you.
It is substantial, full of flavor, and is quite easy to prepare.
The combination of flavors blends beautifully and the variety of ingredients makes this a highly nutritious dish.
Prep and Cook Time: 45 minutes, baking time: 1 hour
1/2 c. wild rice
1 c. long grain brown rice
1 med. onion, chopped
3/4 c. diced celery, about 1/2 inch pieces
2 c. sliced crimini mushrooms
1 med. green apple, diced about 1/2 inch pieces
4 med. cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
6 dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
3 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 Tbs. fennel seeds
3/4 c. + 1 Tbs. chicken broth
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Bring 3-1/2 c. of lightly salted water to a boil.
While water is coming to a boil rinse the wild rice under running water in a strainer.
When water is boiling add both wild and brown rice, cover, turn heat to low and cook for about 45 minutes, until tender.
Do not overcook.
You'll most likely have excess water when rice is cooked properly.
Put cooked rice in a strainer and drain out excess water.
Set aside in a bowl large enough to mix everything together.
Heat 1 Tbs. chicken broth in a large stainless steel skillet.
Sauté onion in broth over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add mushrooms and celery and continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
Mix all the stuffing ingredients together in bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
Place stuffing in an 8 inch square baking dish and bake covered for about 1 hour.
Drizzle with olive oil and mix with a fork keeping it fluffy.
Makes 6 Servings
It's important to use a good rich tasting broth for flavor and not over cook the rice in the beginning as it will continue to cook in the oven.Tweet
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