Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris), is a small low-growing shrub and is commonly cultivated as an annual, though it can persist as an evergreen perennial in warm climates. The stems are somewhat woody and bear simple leaves that are oval to linear and arranged oppositely.
The tiny tubular flowers are borne in whorls along the stems and are typically purple or white in color. Bees are attracted to the flowers, and the thyme honey of Greece has been famous for hundreds of years. Meteora‘s thyme honey is a very popular local delicacy and might be one of the best ideas for a small gift for your loved ones.
There are about 350 species in the genus Thymus, all of which are Eurasian. Wild thyme (T. praecox), has scented leaves, and its foliage and flower heads resemble those of garden thyme (T. vulgaris), the source of the kitchen herb.
In Greece it is used for cooking, to add flavor to fish, meat (perfectly combined with hunting and sausages), sauces (especially tomatoes) and cheeses (especially creamy). It changes pleasantly the taste and flavor of beans and peas and you can add the chopped leaves in stews and soups. You can also use it to give a different twist to any kind of stuffing, eggs, butter and of course, the famous Greek vinegar – olives.
Finally, just drop a little on your vegetables, salads and pasta. Make delicious marinades and aromatic oil for your salads and food (in 1 liter of olive oil put 3 teaspoons of thyme, leave the bottle in a cool and dark place for 20 days, and then strain it with a tea colander).
Thyme has many healing properties, known since the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. It has strong antimicrobial and antiseptic action, due to thymol, which contains its essential oil and is commonly used for disinfecting wounds.
Prior to the wide spread of modern antibiotics, thyme oil was applied by dabbing on the bandages. Thymol has proven effective in fighting fungi that often infect the toenails and it is also used in the manufacture of perfumes and dentifrices.
In Greece are about 23 different types of Thymes. They are harvested in June and July, and now the hiking paths of Meteora are full with it.
Let us show you this treasure of the Greek flora!