Thursday, August 2, 2012

Herb Week Day 4: Lemon Thyme (Thymus citriodorus)

A tea made from lemon thyme is said to speed recovery from a hangover. I could have used that when I was emptying wine bottles for my wine bottle edging project. But there are so many more reasons to grow lemon thyme.

Growing Lemon Thyme
Like most herbs, it grows best in a sunny location with well-draining soil. I grow mine in the potager, and while it may get more water than it likes, it is still does well and is a very easy plant to grow. It is a perfect plant for a container herb garden. It's perennial in zone 4 or warmer, and is evergreen.

Harvesting Lemon Thyme
Cut lemon thyme leaves and flowers as needed throughout the season. The more you cut, the more that grows back, so don't be shy. Cut it in the morning when the concentration of essential oils are highest. From there, it can be stored fresh in the refrigerator, air dried, or frozen. I prefer freezing thyme to drying it, but when used after freezing, it looks limp. That's OK for dishes where appearance is secondary to taste, like roasts or casseroles.

Enjoying Lemon Thyme
Lemon thyme is a gorgeous plant, and useful in the garden between flagstone in a path, or to add texture to a rock garden. It comes in green, variegated with yellow, or even silver tiny leafed foliage. And the mild citrus smell is such a welcome gift.

For culinary purposes, lemon thyme can be used in any recipe that calls for lemon flavoring, be it savory dishes with fish or chicken, or in sweets like this Lemon Thyme Bars recipe which I cannot make because I would eat the whole pan. While it's a little tough to find recipes calling for lemon thyme, you can use it in any recipe that calls for lemon and thyme, and there are lots of those.

Thyme is said to relax the mind and the muscles, boost immunity, aid digestion, and even has anti-aging properties. Ummm, another cup of tea here?!?!

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