Thyme is an evergreen plant belonging to the Labiate family, native to the western Mediterranean area where it arises spontaneously. The very small leaves are usually light green in color and give off an intense aroma.
We learned from ancient cultures that Thyme had a prominent place in everyday life and that its use concerned various fields of application, the one related to cooking was definitely secondary.
In ancient Egypt, for example, it was used for embalming; the Romans used it to conserve food supplies for longer; in Greece it was considered a symbol of courage, in fact the soldiers rubbed their chest with its leaves before going into battle.
The word Thyme in fact derives from the Greek (thymon) and means strength, courage. In the Middle Ages this belief was still vivid and it was even believed that by putting the twigs of this plant under the pillow, nightmares could be kept away.
Charlemagne also used and appreciated Thyme, in his edict he even ordered its cultivation in the gardens of medicinal plants of his empire while in the Middle Ages the ladies donated bunches of Thyme or embroidered shawls or signs with this aromatic plant and gave them to those who were leaving for war as a symbol of luck.
Thyme, aromatic plant suitable for drying
The Thyme harvest takes place from spring to the end of summer, approximately from May to August. In particular it is used the aerial part of the plant, both the flowers and the leaves. Fresh thyme can be stored in the refrigerator in a perforated box for about five to six days. Thyme drying must be done in the shade. The dried Thyme must be stored in a cool, dry place and protected from light in airtight, better glass jars. Its characteristics will remain intact from four to six months.