Typically picked and marketed as fresh sprigs or as individual leaves, thyme is a woody, perennial plant. It may be used as incense and is frequently utilized in cooking and medicine. This article will teach you the right methods for using whole sprigs or simply the leaves of fresh thyme, as well as how to prepare and store it.
Fresh thyme has a more intense flavor than dried thyme. While the amount needed to flavor your food is the same, fresh thyme will impart a deeper flavor. Generally speaking, fresh thyme is eight times more potent than dried thyme. This difference is mostly because dried thyme has been dried and loses most of its flavor. This means that dried thyme will have to be used only when you need a smaller quantity of the herb.
What is Thyme?
The Mediterranean herb thyme can be grown for ornamental purposes as well as for culinary and medicinal purposes. The oil, leaves, and flowers of thyme have all been used to cure various symptoms and issues. They include thymus Vulgaris, the most common, diarrhea, stomach discomfort, arthritis, and a sore throat. Many different types of thyme products can be purchased online.
Thyme is distinct from wild thyme, and the two plants are not interchangeable. Although no scientific evidence supports the aims, people frequently use thyme to treat coughs, alopecia areata (patchy hair loss), dementia, and other conditions. Thyme’s constituents may help treat bacterial and fungal infections and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
How to Store Thyme
If You Utilize the Herb in a Week
Set aside a portion for your dish, then place the remaining unwashed portion in the refrigerator.
The extra sprigs should be wrapped loosely in plastic wrap and stored in a sealed plastic container in the warmest section of your refrigerator.
Before wrapping with plastic, some individuals gather the stray sprigs in one or two paper towels.
Paper towels are believed to minimize the bruising of fragile leaves, hence reducing vital oil losses.
On a label made of masking tape (or another material), note the contents and the “use by” date (one week).
Sprigs that Have Been Preserved for More Than a Week
Keep the leaves on the gathered sprigs as you rinse them under clean, flowing water.
With paper towels, dry the sprigs. Be cautious because bruising the delicate leaves can cause them to lose some vital oils (potency).
To bundle the stems, tie a piece of twine or a bay leaf around a handful of them. When making your “sprig bouquet,” you can use as many or as few sprigs as you choose. However, be careful not to tie them too firmly, as this could cause the stems to break.
Make use of thyme sprigs. Thyme bouquets go well with anything that can be cooked or in marinades. Just make sure to cut off the woody stem before eating.
More Than a Week of Leaves Preservation
Either your fingers or a fork can be used to separate the leaves from the stem. Only do this after thoroughly washing and drying the sprigs.
If using your fingers, gently grasp the stem’s top while using the other to run a gentle pinch down the stem, separating the leaves.
Instead, carefully grasp the top and pass the stem between the tines of a fork if you want.
On a dish, arrange the leftover leaves (separated from the stem) in a cool area.
After a few days, check the leaves to determine if the drying has finished. If not, gently swirl the leaves and place the plate back in the drying area.
When the thyme leaves are dry, pile them up and put them in a resealable container.
The thyme leaves that have been dried should be kept in the fridge.
Include the contents and the “packed on” date on the container’s label.
One of the herbs that retain flavor the best when dried is thyme.
Thyme is still the finest when fresh (as with most herbs).
How Can Fresh Thyme Be Easily Dried?
Follow these steps to dry fresh thyme:
The thyme should be washed and dried under running water.
Bundle the sprigs, hang them indoors (at room temperature) in a well-ventilated place, and shield them from the sun.
The time it takes for the leaves to dry depends on the weather, humidity, and how tightly you tied the bunch. It might take anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks.
The dried leaves should be removed from the sprigs and put in an airtight container.
Just ten minutes of work and two weeks of waiting are required. Following that, you will have “homemade” dried thyme available for months.
Can You Still Use Old Thyme?
Thyme doesn’t last very long, like any fresh herbs. The best-dried thyme lasts between six and twelve months, although you can use it for weeks, months, or even years. You may anticipate maintaining its quality in the refrigerator for 7 to 14 days, depending on how you store it.
You won’t get sick from harsh, depressing, flavorless spices like thyme. The truth is that while your spices may be bad, they are still fresh. Although the spice’s expiration date on the bottle is crucial for monitoring freshness (remember that freshness equals flavor), you can still use the spice after that point.
How to Use Thyme in Recipes?
When used in cooking, fresh and dried thyme adds a sweet but earthy flavor that blends nicely with other components to create a flavorful dish. Even though fresh thyme has a more flavorful aroma, dry thyme is more frequently utilized due to its extended shelf life.
The Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, French, and Italian cuisines greatly benefit from the inclusion of thyme. Almost all recipes call for them, but they are most frequently used in soups, sauces, pizza, roasted meats and vegetables, pasta, and the renowned herb de Provence spice blend.
You can prepare countless dishes using thyme, but here are 15 that you should give a go.
Sauteed Mushrooms with Thyme
Creamy Broccoli Potato Soup
Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice
Lemon Thyme Sauce
Roasted Carrots and Onions
Roasted Potatoes with Thyme
Seasoned Black Lentils
Sauteed Carrots with Thyme
Mushroom Pasta with Goat Cheese & Thyme
Fresh Corn Soup
Simple Baked Eggs
Cheesy Broccoli Casserole
Salmon with Capers & Thyme
Roasted Onions with Thyme
What are the Health Benefits of Consuming Thyme?
You might be in luck if you’re sick of purchasing and attempting over-the-counter acne medications without getting excellent results. Because of its antimicrobial qualities, thyme may one day be used as an acne treatment ingredient.
Thyme becomes a tincture when it is steeped in alcohol for several days or weeks.
Thyme essential oil was discovered to exhibit antibacterial action against P. acnes; the bacteria was thought to cause acne. However, it is still unknown whether thyme oil lessens acne.
The Heart Rate
A species of thyme called Thymus linearis Benth. It can be found in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
An extract considerably reduced heart rate in rats with high blood pressure. Additionally, it managed to reduce their cholesterol.
To verify these effects, however, human research is still required.
Natural cough remedies frequently include the essential oil of coughing thyme, extracted from the plant’s leaves.
Thyme and ivy leaves were combined to help treat coughing and other acute bronchitis symptoms.
In an animal model, inflammation and mucus were reported to be reduced by a combination of thyme and primula extracts in a 2018 study.
Try sipping some thyme tea the next time you cough or have a sore throat.
It can be difficult to consume all the vitamins your body needs daily.
Fortunately, thyme is abundant in beneficial elements, according to the USDA Source, including:
But unless you consume a lot of it, thyme isn’t a terrific provider of these nutrients. For instance, one teaspoon of thyme has 1.28 milligrams of vitamin C, which, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is barely 1% of your daily requirements.
What are Fresh Thyme Alternatives?
There are many different types of dishes and recipes that use fresh thyme. Even though it’s frequently available and popular, what can you do if you don’t have any or prefer something else?
These thyme alternatives for cooking are interesting. You ought to look them up and test them out:
The flavor of oregano, also known as sweet marjoram, is quite distinctive and fresh, similar to that of thyme. Both fresh and dried oregano has similar earthy, minty, savory, and slightly bitter notes to thyme. The powerful aroma of oregano has a spicy, herbal undertone that contributes to its richness and makes one think of grass and hay.
vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, iron, and manganese
Fresh thyme leaves can be substituted with fresh oregano. However, because dried oregano may be potent and alter the flavor of your dish, if you’re replacing fresh thyme in a recipe with Mexican oregano, use half the amount of dry oregano and half the fresh thyme.
Marjoram is a great alternative to fresh thyme. Like oregano, this plant contains traces of mint and wood, but its flavor is more delicate and sweet.
Whether dried or fresh, Marjoram can be used in place of fresh thyme. Additionally, use marjoram in a 1:1 ratio when replacing fresh thyme for a more well-rounded flavor.
Use half as much dried marjoram as fresh thyme if you make the substitution.
Fresh and dried marjoram lend a subtle taste to delicate vegetables, tomato-based dishes like pizza and tomato sauce, and poultry flavoring.
Basil is a herb that is a member of the mint family. Notably, it enhances the flavor of food and has nutrients that may be good for one’s health.
Basil can be used in place of thyme in various dishes because the two herbs are related. In particular, in these circumstances, basil can be substituted for thyme in any tomato-based or Mediterranean dish, like chickpea quinoa salad. However, using dried basil might not be a good idea.
Use only half the fresh basil because it has more color than fresh thyme. However, a 1:1 swap for fresh thyme might be appropriate because dried basil has a milder flavor.
Thyme freezes well but shouldn’t be left in the freezer for long. Common thyme works best for this method because it can handle outdoor temperatures well below zero. The frozen herb also holds its flavor better than if it’s dried. The woody stems of thyme can withstand the freezing process better than other delicate herbs. Once frozen, you should use the thyme within six months.
Storing thyme in an icy cube tray is a great way to keep it fresh for longer. This method also allows you to store a large quantity in the freezer. When using thyme in recipes, freeze whole sprigs, chop them into pieces, or even freeze a mixture of chopped thyme and olive oil in an ice cube tray. You can easily add them to your dish when you need a bit of thyme.