I used to live near Cottingley in West Yorkshire, a stone's throw away from the garden where Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright fascinated the world with their beautiful photographs of fairies in 1917. As a child I secretly searched for fairies at the bottom of our garden and had I known to wear a sprig of thyme then, who knows, I may have caught a glimpse of them!
"I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk roses, and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania some time of the night...." from A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare.
Thyme has long been associated with folk magic and was thought to have attracted fairies! A recipe for a magical oil allegedly enabling people to see fairies was found in a 17th century manuscript in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and states "the thyme must be gathered near the side of a hill where fairies used to be". I guess you need to know someone who's seen them to use that potion!
Thyme can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks. It was believed to have been created by a tear from Helen of Troy as it dropped on the ground and throughout the ancient world and in the Middle Ages, it was considered to be a symbol of courage and sacrifice.
There are over 300 species of thyme but the most well known varieties are :
- Garden Thyme - the principal culinary thyme
- Lemon Thyme - also used in cooking because of it's mild citrus flavour
- Wild Thyme - mainly used in herbal medicine
Thymol, the primary volatile oil of Thyme and named after the plant itself, has wonderful antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. Thyme is also considered to be one of the top anti-oxidant foods because of its unique combination of flavonoids. Both the leaves and the oil have been widely used in medicine for thousands of years in the treatment of :
|My Garden Thyme|
- respiratory diseases
- sore throat
- muscle spasms
- athletes foot
- skin parasites
- tooth decay
- thinning hair
The tiny leaves of the thyme plant are jam-packed with vitamins and minerals including:
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Folic Acid
Thyme is also a good source of one of the ten essential amino acids, tryptophan, which some believe can help treat depression and anxiety.
Cooking with Thyme
Most vegetable dishes can benefit from the addition of thyme. It especially compliments root vegetable, asparagus, broccoli, salad, tomato and bean dishes. So be daring and liberal with the herb, you know it's good for you!
Swede and Apple Soup GF SCD
2 dessert apples
1 large onion
2 medium carrots
800 ml (1½ pints) vegetable stock
5 - 8 sprigs of thyme
large pinch of nutmeg
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
My daughter (please have a listen!) actually discovered the flavour combination of this soup while searching for some lunch at the end of the week when the cupboards were almost bare! But she found a swede and a lonesome apple in the fridge, cooked and blended them into a soup. When I arrived home at the end of the day she couldn't wait for me to try it. I loved it and decided to expand her limited ingredients.
Heat a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a pan. Chop the onions and cook gently for 5 minutes. Chop the carrots and swede and add to the pan. Cook gently for a further couple of minutes.
Wash, peel, chop and core the apple and add to the pan with the sprigs of thyme. The better alternative (if you're not in a hurry) is to chop the thyme finely, this releases the oils. To easily remove the thyme leaves from the stalk, grasp the stalk at the top with your left hand and with the thumb and finger of your right hand pinch the stem at the top and pull downwards toward the bottom of the stem. Voilà! The leaves are easily removed. Add enough stock to cover the vegetables and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Bring to the boil and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the swede is soft. Hopefully the thyme leaves will have separated themselves from the stalks. Remove the stalks from the pan.
Sprinkle the nutmeg on top then blend the soup, adding more stock if necessary!
Serve garnished with some thyme leaves.
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This recipe was linked to Real Food Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Wellness Weekend, Gallery of Favorites, Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love, Friday Food Flicks, Freaky Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Allergy Friendly Friday, Sunday Night Soup Night, Sugar Free Sunday, Monday Mania, Make-ahead Monday, Potluck Party - Earth Day