Thyme is a low-growing
shrub which is delightfully aromatic. It is evergreen,
so fresh leaves can be picked all year round and
there is no need for drying. The flavour will
depend on the variety you choose – common
thyme is the strongest, lemon thyme is less pungent
with a citrus flavour which makes it an excellent
ingredient for custards, and caraway thyme has
a unique aroma half-way between pine and caraway.
Plant pot-grown specimens 1ft (30cm) apart in
a well-drained sunny spot in spring. Pick the
fresh leaves as required – for maximum productivity
do not let the plants flower. Divide the plants
every 3 or 4 years and replant. If you do not
have a garden, thyme will grow quite happily in
a pot on your windowsill.
This herb is the traditional partner for parsley
in the stuffing for poultry. On its own it can
be used for rubbing onto meat before roasting
and it can also be added to fish dishes. Add thyme
to soups and stews, but always use sparingly.