Among the many spices that we have at our disposal, who has not used or tried a dish seasoned with thyme? The thyme ( Thymus vulgaris ) is the best known and cultivated. It is the one that we will talk about today.
A spice that in Spain has accompanied us from the origins of the same plant since it is native to our country among many other territories as we will now see. Let’s take a tour of the world of thyme.
THYME AND ITS ORIGINS
The thyme is one of those spices that belongs to us by origin. Much of what we grow today has remote origins, but not thyme. The genus Thymus is made up of more than 1000 species and the origins extend from Europe through Africa and Asia.
Three of the five continents colonized by this genus that perfumes us the fields, orchards and dishes. If we specify a little more, within each continent we have to limit the temperate and warm climatic zones, leaving out a large part of the territory.
Within the vast world of the genus Thymus, the most recognized and used species are 3 or 4 and of these few, Thymus vulgaris is the main one .
Today it is already widespread and adapted to many places, although we are going to see the optimal growing conditions for our garden or aromatic orchard.
THYME AND ITS MANY USES
IN THE KITCHEN
Thyme as a condiment and flavoring for dishes is widespread in almost any world gastronomy. It is one of the spices that make up the famous Provencal herbs and is present in the well-known Mediterranean cuisine.
The thyme branch that is incorporated into finished rice (for example, rice and rabbit) is also highly aromatic. Thyme honey is also known in certain areas of Spain, as well as participating in the production of certain cheeses (cheese with thyme).
IN FOLK MEDICINE
It was clear. Thyme could not be so famous just for its culinary use. There had to be something else. It is a plant apart from aromatic, medicinal. In popular medicine it was used as an antitussive, antispasmodic in bronchitis and facilitates expectoration. A few days ago we talked about essential oils and their chemical nature . We mentioned that essential oils are usually from the group of terpenes.
We owe the benefits of thyme to a component of terpenic origin, contained in its essential oil that you surely know; thymol . It has a great disinfectant and fungicidal power .
Many of the mouthwashes and various products for topical use have among their components, thymol. They kill two birds with one stone. Great properties and a pleasant aroma.
HOW TO CARE FOR THYME IN YOUR GARDEN
Heat heat heat and sun. The Thymus vulgaris is resistant to severe droughts . Its leaves, with very little leaf surface area, allow low perspiration even with oppressive temperatures , which is why it is one of those aromatics that will not suffer if we go on vacation for two months in summer.
In the garden we will find the sunniest place possible for you. That place where many of our plants would suffer in summer is the perfect place for this marvel of thermal resistance.
It adapts very well to almost any type of soil . It prefers limestone soils, which is its original soil. In the mountains you will be able to find it surrounded by rocks that you will hardly even know how it has been possible to develop in such conditions. You have the example in the photo below.
HOW TO WATER OUR THYME
If it is watered from time to time it is evident that it will develop with more vigor but we will not notice much difference if we forget a little about it.
Finally one last piece of advice taken with the permission of Mariano Bueno himself. He tells us that the thyme grown in the garden has a little less aroma and concentration in active principles than the wild one and for this reason he recommends us, take a walk in the mountains and collect a little thyme.
In any case, it costs nothing to have it in the garden so our advice is: grow it, take a walk in the mountains, collect some … and compare!