Is it Time for more Thyme in your Life?
Everyone should have some thyme growing in their garden - one of the easiest of plants to grow and also one that keeps on giving back to you with its herbal fragrance and so many other benefits and uses.
If you don’t already have some in your garden, how about trying two or three different varieties. This little woody plant is an excellent herb for the beginner herb gardener because it thrives with a little neglect, not minding too much if it is underwatered or over pruned.
Thyme for the kitchen
Use thyme to flavor meats, especially lamb and chicken. You can include in egg or cheese dishes, or a pinch of thyme can be added to a biscuit or bread dough while most soups and stews can benefit too. Thyme should be added early on in the cooking process. Thyme is slow to release its oils, so it needs plenty of time to impart flavor to the dish.
You can measure thyme in teaspoons or sprigs. A sprig is usually a stem between four to six inches long - but remember to remove the woody stem after cooking by which time most of the leaves will have fallen off.
1. Herb butter. Thyme is ideal to add to butter because of how long it takes the leaves to release their oils in cooking. Cooking with thyme-herbed butter means you can add a pat at any stage and get the warmth of thyme in any dish.
Using a mixer, whisk one teaspoon of dried or two teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves into a cup of butter, beating until the thyme is thoroughly mixed. Store in the refrigerator and use within two weeks.
2. Thyme infused oil or vinegar. Use thyme to create an infused vinegar which can be used on salads and in a stir-fry. Use a jar with a lid and add five to ten thyme sprigs (which have been rinsed and dried) to one cup of oil or vinegar. Cap the jar and store the infusion in a warm dark place for a week or two when it will be ready to use. Thyme oil will keep for up to a month and thyme vinegar for up to two months as long as they are refrigerated.
4. Thyme tea. Sipping a cup of thyme tea can ease the mood and soothe an upset stomach while a cup at bedtime will help to relax you before sleeping. Even better is lemon thyme tea. You can make thyme tea by pouring 8 oz of boiling water over two or three sprigs of fresh thyme and leaving to steep for ten to fifteen minutes.
Thyme for the garden
- Thyme can be a useful pest control. For example, plant close to tomatoes, cabbages and carrots as its powerful scent will help to repel and deter plant pests such as tomato hornworms, cabbage loopers and carrot flies.
- Grow thyme in place of lawn. Thyme makes a good, natural lawn replacement. Find out more about how to grow this attractive, drought-resistant herb instead of grass. In an effort to reduce water use and time spent caring for lawns, some gardeners are replacing their turf with thyme. Thyme is an ideal grass alternative. It requires less water, is generally tough, drought resistant and hardy. Healthy plants will spread easily to fill the space.
Thyme for your home
1. Infused massage or skin oil. Infuse a carrier oil such as jojoba with fresh thyme and use as a massage oil by rubbing a drop or two on the temples to boost concentration. A few drops added to a diffuser can help to lift your mood while mixing a teaspoon into a cup of witch hazel used a toner will help to clear acne. Another use is to rub the oil on your scalp before shampooing to alleviate itchy skin and to help clear dandruff.
To make the massage oil, add 5 to10 sprigs of rinsed and dried thyme to one cup of your choice of carrier oil. Keep in a sealed jar, in a warm and dark place for two weeks, shaking from time to time before straining the oil into a clean and sterile jar. Use within two weeks, or keep it in the refrigerator for up to a month.
2. Congestion relief. And breathe more easily by using a steamy thyme facial to open the airways and relieve coughs.
For the method, add a handful of fresh thyme sprigs to a bowl of hot water. Place a towel over your head and the bowl - and carefully and slowly breathe in the moist, thyme-scented air. Another suggestion is to add a drop or two of thyme-infused oil to a diffuser and sleeping with it by your bedside.
3. Natural moth repellent. The scent of thyme will repel moths. Either hang a bundle of fresh thyme in your closet or place a few sprigs in your dresser drawers.
4. Thyme scented soap. Do you make your own soap? Add dried thyme to a batch of soap for an invigorating soap that will help with headaches, boost the brain and help you face the day ahead.
5. Keep mosquitoes at bay. Use thyme as a natural mosquito repellent by gently rubbing thyme leaves over your arms and clothing. The crushed leaves will release their oils and help keep mosquitoes away.
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