Get to Know Your Spice Rack: It’s About Thyme
Thyme is a low-growing aromatic plant from the mint family. The small leaves are used as a culinary herb for cooking. Thyme leaves give your foods a minty and tea-like flavor.
Fun Facts About Thyme
From Our Herb Garden:
- Thyme is derived from the Greek word “thumos” and/or the Latin “fumus,” which both mean smoke.
- Thumos also signifies courage. The Greeks and others considered thyme as a symbol of bravery. Ladies would often spray thyme on their scarves to present to their chosen protector.
- Thyme is known to produce flowers that are male on the first day and female on the second, along with flowers that are distinctly only female.
Dried Thyme vs. Fresh Thyme
Dried thyme has a more intense, concentrated flavor and, like any fresh herb, it can be substituted for fresh thyme at a ratio of 1 tsp dried to 3 tsp fresh. While using dried thyme can be very convenient to grab when cooking, it’s important to understand the differences in how and when it should be incorporated into your recipes. For example, dried thyme needs to be added earlier on in the cooking process, as it takes longer to release its flavor. If you are using fresh thyme, do the opposite. Add the thyme at the end of the cooking process — this will guarantee the heat won’t destroy the thyme’s aroma or flavor.
How to Store Thyme
Fresh thyme can last up to seven days in your fridge. Wrap it in a paper towel that’s slightly damp. Or, cut the ends off of the stems and place the sprigs in a glass jar in 1 inch of water. Seal this with a plastic bag. Dried thyme has a shelf life of about six months. Store it in a tightly sealed glass container that’s in a dark, cool and dry place.
Cooking with Thyme
Play around with using thyme! Try adding it to grilled chicken or pasta sauce. Or, try one of these delicious thyme-filled recipes from some of your favorite food blogs:
Green Beans with Almonds and Thyme Recipe by Simply Recipes
Lemon-Thyme Spinach by Recipe Girl
Super Herb Butter by Joy the Baker
Grapefruit Champagne Punch w/ Lemon Thyme by Smith Bites
Buttery Thyme Bread by The Pioneer Woman
Honey Thyme Roasted Butternut Squash by Picky Palate
Photo: “Fresh Thyme” by cookbookman17 is licensed under CC BY 2.0