Thyme

The thyme plant is a perennial shrub with thin woody base, and square stems. It reaches about 15 to 30 cm in length, featuring very small, light green with paler underneath, slightly curved aromatic leaves. Tiny, fragrant rich, lilac or white color flowers appear in summer.

The other commonly grown varieties of thyme are lemon thyme (T.x citriodora), caraway thyme (T. herba barona) and wild thyme (T. septyllum). Either leaves as well as flowering tips; fresh or dried used for culinary purposes.

Nutritional Profile

Thyme is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is a very good source of vitamin A (in the form of provitamin A carotenoid phytonutrients) as well as a good source of iron, manganese, copper, and fiber.

Health Benefits

Thyme has a long history of use in natural medicine in connection with chest and respiratory problems including coughs, bronchitis, and chest congestion. Only recently, however, have researchers pinpointed some of the components in thyme that bring about its healing effects. The volatile oil components of thyme are now known to include carvacolo, borneol, geraniol, but most importantly, thymol. Thyme is not a commonly allergenic food and is not known to contain measurable amounts of oxalates or purines.

How to Select and Store

Whenever possible, choose fresh thyme 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 be free from dark spots or yellowing.

Just like with other dried spices, when purchasing dried thyme, try to select that which is organically grown since this will give you more assurance that it has not been irradiated.

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.

History

Thyme 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.

Nutrition Chart

Thyme, fresh | 2 tsp | 4.80 g | Calories: 5

NUTRIENTAMOUNTDRI/DV (%)
Vitamin C7.68 mg10
Vitamin A11.40 mcg1
Vitamin B20.02 mg 2
Vitamin B30.09 mg 1
Vitamin B60.02 mg1
Manganese0.08 mg4
Folate2.16 mcg1
Iron0.84 mg5
Copper0.03 mg3
Magnesium7.68mg 2
Omega-3 fats0.02 g1
Calcium19.44 mg2
Phosphorus5.09 mg1
Potassium29.23mg 1
Sodium0.43mg0
Zinc0.09 mg 1
Protein0.27 g1
Carbohydrates1.17 g 1
Fiber0.67 g3

Tips for Preparing and Cooking

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. Is a wonderful addition to bean, egg,  vegetable dishes, fish and season soups.

The Healthiest Way of Cooking With Thyme read: Recipes.

Source: http://www.whfoods.com

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