Friday, February 20, 2009

Thyme Honey

I thought it only appropriate to begin this blogging journey with a little something about Thyme. Like all culinary herbs, thyme has become a cornerstone of cuisine for good reason. It is a wonderfully diverse plant medicine, the virtues and uses of which I could barely begin to uncover in a single post. In the context of our season I want to share the benefits of thyme as an herb for winter health wellness. Thyme is anti-bacterial. In fact it is one of the most anti-bacterial herbs of the plant kingdom. It has also been tested and proven to have incredible powers as an anti-fungal, attesting to its ability to support the body system by eliminating harmful and unwanted bugs and organisms. It grows easily in a backyard or potted inside and fresh trimmings can be purchased for culinary uses in most grocery stores, natural health food stores and farmer's markets.

I encourage you to try making this thyme honey. It is a tasty treat and will provide you and your family or house mates with good medicine. In addition to keeping the winter bugs away, thyme is also an appetite stimulant! With this in mind, I recommend you keep a jar of home-made thyme honey on the table and have a teaspoonful before meals. This will help you to digest your food, while squashing bacterial and other bugs that may lead to illnesses! This is a simple and yummy way to support your wellness when colds and the flue are rampant during the winter season.

Why Honey?
well, first of all honey tastes great. Raw, unfiltered honey is full of nutrition, is mildly anti-bacterial and soothing to mucus membranes. This makes it a healthy and delicious way to deliver medicine to those who are resistant or to those who enjoy exploring the complexity of their senses.

1 cup raw, unfiltered honey
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves and stems

Start by finely chopping the thyme leaves and stems. If they are dirty you can rub them together between two towels to remove some of the dirt, or you can wash or soak the branches to clean. If you do this make sure that you allow them to completely dry before cutting them for use in this recipe. Any water left on the thyme and added to the honey will make it more likely to spoil.

The next step is to gently heat the honey and thyme together in a double boiler. To make an at-home double boiler, heat several inches of water in a medium saucepan. Place a glass jar, glass pirex measuring cup or other smaller saucepan (that has the honey and thyme added to it) into the saucepan with the warm water. This allows the honey to be heated by an indirect heat source; the heat is more evenly distributed throughout the honey and it will not burn. Let the water steam or lightly simmer, but not boil hard. Heat the honey and thyme uncovered until the honey is a thin liquid. Keep the honey at this texture for an hour or more, then let it to sit as is, uncovered, for 12 to 24 hours. The purpose of leaving the honey uncovered is to avoid condensation the resulting water of which would drip into your honey. However, once the honey has cooled you may cover it to avoid contamination.

Once the honey has "steeped" for the length of time you desire you may strain it with a piece of cheese cloth, or a piece of clean cotton muslin. To strain your honey, heat it to a liquid again in a double boiler and pour it through the cloth into a clean jar. Allow the honey to cool before placing the lid on. Straining your honey is not necessary. I often keep the leaves in with the honey and eat them when I take my daily dose. The bitter compounds that stimulate digestion will be stronger and it adds a nice texture.

Label your honey with the name and date, and store it in a place where you will remember to take it. Remember the old saying, just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down! And I must say, my experience has show me that honey is even better!

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