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Thyme Varieties and Facts

Thyme varieties are difficult to differentiate

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Cook preparing fresh thyme
Andrea Bricco/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
Thyme is one of the best known and most widely-used culinary herbs. It is quite easy to grow and is commonly found as a decorative as well as a functional plant in many home gardens.

You will find thyme a welcome flavor in salads, soups, chowders, sauces, breads, vegetable and meat dishes, and even jellies and desserts.

Thyme is an essential ingredient in bouquet garni, as well as a prime ingredient in the expensive Benedictine liqueur.

Thyme Varieties

A member of the mint family, thyme is a perennial evergreen shrub, whose sometimes woody stems are covered with small, gray-green to green leaves. Its small, two-lipped flowers range in color from pale pink to purple and bear quadruplet nutlet fruits. The entire plant is aromatic.

There are over one hundred varieties of thyme, with the most common being Garden Thyme and Lemon Thyme. The many types are so close in appearance, it is often difficult to differentiate them.

Lemon thyme has a slightly more-pronounced lemony fragrance, particularly good with fish. All varieties of thyme are highly attractive to bees.

Honey from bees that feed on thyme flower nectar is a gourmet delight.

Yet interestingly enough, insects are repelled by thyme. Make a cup of thyme tea, put it in a plant mister, and spray around doorways and windows in summer to repel insects.

More about Thyme and Thyme Recipes:

Thyme Selection and Storage
Thyme Varieties and Facts
Thyme and Health
Thyme History
Thyme Recipes
Thyme Photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Cookbooks

Herb Mixtures and Spicy Blends
The Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs and Spices
The Spice and Herb Bible
Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference
More Cookbooks
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Tips for Growing Thyme
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