Friday, July 7, 2017

Thyme management

Wandering into the kitchen yesterday afternoon, I was greeted by the very pleasant sight and smell of a lot of thyme drying on some paper towels. What was Pam cooking? I wasn't sure, but at least I knew it was going to have lots of thyme in it.

Even if Pammy didn't use all this thyme, I was still pleased to see how much she harvested, because that's what I like to do — harvest a lot more thyme than I need each time I plan to cook with thyme. We have no shortage of thyme growing here, as you can see below, and a key trick to keeping it so lush and bushy is that we cut it back all the time, and never worry about cutting off too much each time we get some for the kitchen.

This is just one pot of thyme, sitting on the path under the clothesline, in the sunniest part of the garden. It's spilling over the edges of the pot and trying to send roots down in the nearby garden beds and even into cracks in the paving. It's a weed at heart. 

Like our thyme, the rosemary and sage are also doing well here, and part of the trick of keeping them growing abundantly is to harvest often, or cut them back often even if you don't need that much in the kitchen. I feed these potted plants just once a year, but I do water them often and cut them back often as well.

I have a particular affection for thyme, it's the herb I use most often (along with parsley). It smells so nice as you wash and prepare it, and it's such a versatile flavour, too.

Well, what did Pammy do with her many branches of thyme? She dropped them into a baking dish with an inch-deep puddle of olive oil in the bottom, then added lots of cherry tomatoes, and baked them in a preheated 180°C oven for about half an hour. Then she boiled some farfalle (bow-tie) pasta, drained the tomatoes of their olive-oily, herby bath, then tossed the cooked cherry tomatoes through the pasta. It was a side dish, but at the same time the star of last night's meal. Thankyou Pammy, thankyou thyme.

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