Breckland thyme and broad-leaved thyme, Thymus serpyllum, Thymus pulegioides
Breckland thyme (also called wild thyme or creeping thyme) and broad-leaved thyme (also called larger wild thyme, large thyme, or lemon thyme) are lesser-known relatives of the most commonly-used commercially available thyme, Thymus vulgaris, which is often called common thyme, garden thyme, or simply thyme.
The edible parts of the different thyme varieties are the flowers, leaves, and young shoots. They have a very strong taste and aroma. Thymes are ideal for use in both everyday and more festive foods. Thyme is an excellent nectar plant, and the flowers have a different taste than the leaves.
Something to try
To make a delicious flavoured butter, put softened butter in a bowl and mix in garlic, a dash of red wine, a handful of freshly ground thyme flowers, and black pepper to taste. The flavoured butter can be used in summertime as a supplement to grilled foods, for example.
A refreshing drink to accompany the meal can be made from water flavoured with Breckland thyme or broad-leaved thyme. On more festive occasions, a glass of schnapps infused with plenty of broad-leaved thyme will go down very well! After adding the thyme to the bottle of schnapps, allow it to infuse for at least a few days before serving.
Gathering the plants
In the wild, thyme grows well on dry, sunny sandy heaths; it also grows on rocks, and spreads over them like a mat.
Other interesting facts
Thymol is the chemical compound that gives the various species of thyme their characteristic aroma. In addition to its culinary uses, thymol also makes these plants useful to the cosmetics industry, for example in mouthwashes and toothpastes.