This week we have a brave little herb in the spotlights; Thyme.
This deliciously smelling little plant can be found in many different varieties, but the species you’re most likely to find are the so-called real thyme and lemon thyme. The last one because… it smells of lemon, of course. The leaves of the woody twigs are responsible for the smell and taste of this herb. When used in cooking the twigs are usually removed after given of the flavor.
Why do I call it a brave herb?
It’s assumed that this particular plant received it’s name from the Greek word for ‘courage'; thumus. The Roman soldiers would take a thyme bath to become stronger and English knights would often have a thyme twig and symbols on their shields to give them courage. There are also a few recipes found from the Middle ages that mention a thyme soup and how this can be used to conquer shyness and Scottish clans would make a tea out of it to prevent having nightmares. All things that can be solved with alcohol these days..
Another explanation for the name leads back to the ancient Greek and suggest that the herb is named after the word ‘thymus’ which means to desinfect.
The herb was – and is – used regularly in incense and has been one of the core ingredients for balming fluids. It has also been scientifically proven that the use of thyme is a good source against fungus.
Make a tea with it and it will help against a hangover and as a sweet syrup it might help against colds, throatpain and coughing. Thyme is a woody herb which makes is very suitable for cooking and braising of dishes such as in stews or slowcooked dishes with wine.
Make sure though, that you do not overuse the herb as it’s strong and spicy taste can soon overpower any dish. Usually one twig is more than enough to give a dish flavor. The fresh scent you get from a lot of herb mixes like a provencal mix is from the ‘real thyme’ that goes in it.
In essence all types of meat, game and poultry can be paired with thyme and the lemon thyme is a good flavor in fish dishes.
The leaves can be dried (the flavor will be more intense) or you can make it into a good oil or vinegar.
Maybe a less obvious combination is chocolate and thyme. Find a recipe for thyme icecream on the internet and pour some hot chocalate over it. Yum!
Also try and make a thyme oil and add some orange and lemon peel in it. It’s s easy as one, two three, because if you put some bruised twigs and the zest of lemon into a bit of olive oil, you’ll have a good spicy and fresh oil within three days. Nice to make a dressing with.
For some extra inspiration we have this recipe with orange-thyme ice cream.
Orange thyme icecream
We thought the taste of the thyme could be a little stronger here. Maybe add a bit more thyme or make an thyme caramel layer and crumb that over the top.
- 3 dl milk
- 4 dl cream
- 3 egg yolks
- 100 gr sugar
- zest of 1 orange
- Juice of 1/2 an orange
- 5 thyme twigs
- Place the 3 dl of the milk together with the 2 dl of cream into a saucepan and put on a low heat. Add the chopped thyme and the lemonzest in and bring close to the boil. Turn of the heat and leave to stand for at least 30 minutes.
- Once the half hour is over you can whisk the eggyolks with the sugar to a creamy and thick consistency. Add your herb/cream mixture in and the orange juice and whisk until light and airy. Whisk the remaining 2 dl cream to soft peaks and fold this through the herbal mixture.
- Prepare the ice in an icecream machine if you have one or put into a freezer bowl. Put this in the freezer and stir every 30 minutes or so until the ice is firm.
This post is also available in: Dutch