Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Thyme - Swede and Apple Soup GF SCD

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. Growing up, I 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 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".

Thyme can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks. Supposedly, it was 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

Medicinal Uses

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
  • coughs
  • colds
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • indigestion
  • colic
  • muscle spasms
  • rheumatism
  • athletes foot
  • skin parasites
  • gout
  • warts
  • tooth decay
  • thinning hair

Nutritional Benefits
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
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Zinc

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.

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. The leaves are easily removed.

Swede and Apple Soup GF SCD

1 medium swede (rutabaga) about 700-800g
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
  • Heat a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a pan then 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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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  1. I don't think I've ever used rutabaga. This looks delicious though! Perhaps I'll give your soup a try and see how my family likes a new vegetable. Thanks for sharing at Allergy-Free Wednesdays!

  2. Michelle, I think the'll like it! I think swede is very English! I grew up with mashed swede and carrots! yum!

  3. This recipes looks divine! I've never had apple soup. How creative. And, as always, I love the addition of the holistic healing benefits of food! Great job.

    Be Well,

  4. This sounds delicious! I will definitely be trying this soon. Thank you!

  5. The apple/rutabaga combo sounds really tasty, I must try this! I'd love it if you would share this with Sunday Night Soup Night.


  6. I had no idea that a rutabaga is also called a swede? I also love that you include all of the many benefits of your ingredients. Soup is one of my favorite things to eat this time of year-- this looks great!

  7. It does seem strange to use apples in a soup Amber but funnily enough, it does work!
    Thanks Melanie, I hope you enjoy it!
    Debbie, I'll see you over there!
    Leslie, maybe if rutabaga was called swede in Canada and the US, it would be more popular?
    Thank you all for visiting!

  8. I am loving your posts featuring herbs! I grow thyme most of the year (inside during the winter) and love the flavor fresh thyme adds to recipes. This soup is a delightful combination of sweet and savory! thanks for sharing your recipe with the Gallery.

  9. I have a very large patch of Thyme in my Herb Garden and I use it the year round. This soup looks delicious and I just have to walk out the back door to get the thyme. Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  10. Thank you Miz Helen! It must be lovely to be able to pick herbs all year round! It's too cold for some of them to survive the frost here!

  11. Well done to your daughter for coming up with a soup of her own, and inspiring you! I loved her song too. She has a beautiful voice and the lyrics were great.

    I am so enjoying your series on herbs and spices. This is another wonderful post, and I really enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing it, and your delicious soup recipe, with the Gallery of Favorites.

  12. Thank you April and it's so nice of you to visit Hannah's youtube site!

  13. Hello There,

    I’ve selected your wonderful recipe to share on Allergy-Free Wednesday’s weekly recipe highlights.

    Just a friendly reminder that your post must contain a back link to our blog hop in order to be featured (see link below). Thank you so much for submitting last week. We hope to see you again this week on AFW. Your recipe highlight can be viewed on Wednesday when the blog hop opens.

    Be Well,

    (back Link: )

  14. I've never used rutabaga much or at all so this looks like a good place to start. Thyme is my most favorite herb but I had no idea it had so much nutritional value. Great information and wonderful recipe!

  15. I've never cooked with rutabaga, but this sounds quite yummy. And thanks for all the info about thyme! Amazing how much nutrition is in those little leaves. Thanks for sharing with Healthy 2Day wednesday!

  16. Thank you Amber! I'm thrilled!
    Mjskit and Anne, I hope you enjoy it and here's hoping swede (or rutabaga) may become a little more popular across the pond! It's such a popular vegetable over here!

  17. I love all of the information you have provided about thyme, its one of my favorite herbs! Thanks for sharing this with Sunday Night Soup Night, look forward to seeing you again soon!

  18. This is an interesting combination. I am going to give this one a try. Thanks!

    I hope to see you again this week at Friday Food Flicks!

  19. I just tweeted and pinned this soup as one of my favorites from Sunday Night Soup Night! Thanks for linking up and hope to see you again soon :)

  20. Thanks for sharing this recipe at Make-ahead monday! Hope to see you again next week!