Thyme is a Mediterranean native of the mint family, it is one of the most widely used herbs. There is believed to be abut 100 species of thyme. All thymes are wonderfully aromatic. Garden or Common Thyme, which grows easily from seed or cuttings, is the variety generally used in cooking, although there are many types of this mint-family perennial.
Thyme is considered by many herbalist as the very nearly perfect useful herb. It ranks as one of the finest herbs of French cuisine. The general rule of using herbs in cooking is - when in doubt use thyme.
The Persians once nibbled fresh thyme as an appetizer. Some ancients Greeks though thyme gave one courage.
In the days of chivalry, ladies embroidered a symbolic sprig of thyme and a honey bee on their scarves, which they gave as "favors" to the bravest knights.
The dried flowers of thyme, like lavender, have been used to preserve linen from insects. The leaves and flowering tops are an ingredient in sachets. The flowers are also edible. See Edible Flowers.
Availability: Summer months are usually offer the best availability for fresh thyme.
Selection: Choose fresh herbs that have good green color; avoid those that are wilted. Packaged seasonings lose quality after a while. Try to buy from a store that restocks its fresh herb section fairly often.
Storage: Refrigerate fresh thyme in damp paper towels over wrapped in plastic. Stored this way, thyme will keep for up to one week. Store dried thyme and ground thyme in a cool, dark, dry place. Dried thyme will keep up to one year, ground thyme up to six months.