A common garden herb used in many different styles of cuisine, thyme is a perennial shrub native to the Mediterranean climate with tiny green leaves and an unmistakable scent. The herb’s use stretches into antiquity, with both the Greeks and Egyptians having recorded different applications, both medicinally and culturally. The word “thymus” is supposedly taken from the Greek word for courage, of which thyme is supposed to provide to the user.
Thyme grows as a sprawling shrub, with many different varieties in the family. Lemon thyme is a popular cultivar, which imparts a lemony scent along with the signature clove-tinged thyme flavor. In June and July, tiny white or pink flowers may attract many different pollinators.
Medicinally, thyme has been recorded being used for a variety of ailments; including digestive issues, nervous conditions, and sores on the skin. The essential oil has a very strong antiseptic quality, and burning the dried leaves has been used as a fumigator.
The thyme grown at the Bailey GREENhouse is the common garden thyme, which we harvest as the new growth appears on the plant. Using simple harvesting shears, we cut the many stems back to the larger, more developed woody growth that is the main support of the plant. Every few years, we will take cuttings (small pieces of the plant) and root them in pots to start new thyme plants, which will replace our older plants in the house to maintain fresh and vigorous growth. You can find this product at the Brody Square Dining Hall, the MSU Food Truck, and the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center’s State Room restaurant.