Thyme is a perennial plant that is grown and processed throughout the Middle East and Europe. The aromatic and pungent flavour releases is a perfect companion to tomato dishes and of course, meat dishes. It is a vital seasoning ingredient in Creole and French recipes, specifically in dry format.
Thyme is commonly used to enhance the taste of soups, vinaigrette, bean dishes, grains and tomato sauces. It also enhances corn dishes very well with its distinctive flavour. In the Mediterranean region, thyme is most often used to prepare lamb as it breaks down the gamy flavour of lamb and of course, venison. It is used to flavour cheeses, lentil dishes and elevates egg servings, such as omelettes very well.
The most important point is that dried herbs and spices can never go bad if they are kept dry. Yes, the potency is lost, but it will still influence the flavor of your cooking.
Seeds, roots, leaves and flowers last longer than crushed or ground herbs and spices. When you are preparing to store your dry herbs and spices it is vital that they are completely dry. A good indication is to rub it with your finger to check if it crumbles. As oxygen degrades dried herbs and spices over time, you should store them in airtight containers. Glass jars with sealable lids are perfect, and so are metal tins. Plastic wonâ€™t do for long terms storage. Sunlight also degrades dried herbs and spices; therefore, it should be stored in a dark cabinet that is both cool and dry. If your spice rack is near the stove or cooker, steam will degrade your herbs and spices each time you open the container while cooking. When buying in bulk, you should always store only some of the dried herbs and spices in a glass or metal container. Each time you open it, it is exposed to the elements. When buying in bulk it is useful to label your containers with the purchase date and discard date.