Thyme: cooking, food pairing and sensory exploration to teach taste for a lifetime of adventurous eating. Thyme is a small, hardy, evergreen shrub with very small, aromatic leaves. It is able to able to withstand a long slow cooking process. It has the ability to enhance other herbs but can overpower them if you use too much. Thyme is a great source of vitamin E, thiamin, magnesium, zinc and copper making it a wonderful addition to meals. Not only does it add vitamin and minerals but it provides a powerful aroma.
Cooking Tips & Food Pairing to Teach Taste
Thyme has a warm, earthy and peppery fragrance when lightly brushed. The taste is spicy with notes of cloves and mint with a mouth-cleansing aftertaste. Thyme combines well with cabbage, carrots, corn, eggplant, lamb, leeks, legumes, onions, potatoes, poultry, tomatoes, mushrooms, allspice, basil, bay, chili, clove, garlic, lavender, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, rosemary and savory.
Sensory Exploration to Teach Taste
Providing an opportunity for you child to experience thyme away from the table is crucial to increasing familiarity to the herb. You can chop up thyme and add about 1/4 – 1/2 cup to an old baby sock. Tie the end of the sock to prevent the herb from falling out. Allow your child to explore the sock with their hands. They will become familiar with the aroma. You can do this with a couple of socks with different herbs. As the child gets older, you can play “What is that Smell?”.
You can also let the older child practice cutting skills with thyme. It is a strong herb and easy to handle with little fingers.
Buying & Storing
Thyme is available at most grocery stores and nurseries. Fresh leaves will keep for up to a week stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Dried thyme wil retain its flavor though the winter.