Thyme: A great seasoning

Most thyme is imported from Spain, although French thyme, grown in limited quantities, is recognized as a higher quality.

Most thyme is imported from Spain, although French thyme, grown in limited quantities, is recognized as a higher quality.

by Joanne Henning Tedesco — 

Thyme is the dried leaves of Thymus vulgaris, a small perennial in the mint family. The leaves measure about one-quarter of an inch in length and one-tenth of an inch in width. The grayish-green plant grows about 18 inches tall and produces small flowers that are very attractive to honey bees. Its flavor and aroma are warming and pungent.

Infuse thyme into a tea for a digestive tonic and to soothe hangovers. Sweeten the infusion with honey for coughs, colds and sore throats or use thyme oil as a massage for headaches. The essential oil can be used in an antiseptic air spray.

In the kitchen, thyme is used when cooking stuffings, meats, stews, fish and game. It is part of bouquet garni, herbes de Provence, and the Middle East spice blend Zahtar, along with jerk and curry blends. Most thyme is imported from Spain, although French thyme, grown in limited quantities, is recognized as a higher quality.

Thyme dates back to ancient Greece, where it symbolized courage. Roman soldiers bathed in water infused with thyme to gain vigor, courage and strength. In the Middle Ages, ladies embroidered a sprig of thyme on the scarves of knights to indicate bravery.

 

Italian Party Bites 

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12-inch) prepared pizza crust
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon minced onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup thinly sliced vegetables (such as red bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms)
  • 1 can (2.2 ounces) sliced black olives, drained
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place pizza crust on baking sheet. Toss together the next six ingredients in a bowl; spread mixture over crust. Top with olives and Parmesan cheese. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cut into two-inch squares.

 

Joanne Henning Tedesco is editor of AzNetNews.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 5, October/November 2005.

 

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