14 October, 2022
Cooking With Thyme – Includes Recipes
Thyme is an aromatic perennial evergreen herb. It is a relative of the oregano, with both plants being mostly indigenous to the Mediterranean region.
Thyme has culinary uses along with medicinal, and ornamental as well.
As an eatable herb, the thyme plant has small leaves but big in flavor.
Thyme is used alone or with other herbs like rosemary, sage and marjoram to season and add flavor to many kinds of dishes.
Thyme is a basic ingredient in Levantine, Libyan, Indian, Italian, French, Albanian, Persian, Portuguese, Assyrian, Spanish, Greek, Nigerian, Caribbean, and Turkish cuisines –
Are All Varieties Of Thyme Good For Cooking?
There are several hundred cultivated varieties of thyme.
Many different thyme varieties have been developed with specific flavors, aesthetics, and growth habits.
The Perdue Aromatic and Plants index explains that all species of Thymus vulgaris L. and Thymus serpyllum are classified as safe to use as culinary herbs or in essential oils.
According to the Master Gardener Program at the Oregon State University Extension Service’s Jackson County office the thyme varieties with the best flavor for cooking with include:
- narrow-leaf French
- broadleaf English
- lemon thyme
Cooking With Thyme
A recipe that calls for thyme will typically use the term sprig unless they are referencing dried thyme leaves.
There is no agreement for the definition of sprig when it comes to measuring thyme. Though 6 sprigs of 4-5 inches long will yield one tablespoon of fresh leaves.
Thyme leaves can be added at any stage of cooking. They are added whole or chopped and the longer they cook the more flavor they’ll provide.
It is best to remove the tiny leaves from the fibrous stem, as it won’t breakdown while cooking. How do you do that?
1. Take one stem of the herb and hold it at a point near the top and hold it firmly.
2. With your opposite hand, gently pull down the stem against the top of the leaves. This will pull them off the stem.
3. If you try to remove them by pulling from the bottom of the stem up, the leaves will not come off easily.
There may be occasions when the stem breaks apart or the leaves don’t come off, but this is a quick way of removing the tiny leaves without removing them individually.
If you have removed more leaves from the stem than you need in your recipe, save the remaining thyme leaves in the refrigerator sealed in a small container for up to three days.
To store sprigs of thyme (leaves still attached to stems) roll them in a damp paper towel And place them in a ziplock bag. Store the bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge and use within 2 weeks.
You can also freeze the herb. First remove the leaves from the stems (discard stems in your mulch bind if you have one) and chop them.
Next add olive oil packed herbs to a ice tray cube. Wrap the tray in plastic wrap and put in the freezer overnight.
You can choose to leave the frozen leaf/oil cubs in the try or remove them and store in a ziplock bag and place it back in the freezer and use within 12 months.
Dried thyme will retain its potency in a tightly sealed glass or plastic container in a cool, dark place away from heat for up to three years.
Substitutions For Thyme
Thyme has a flavor that is similar to dried or fresh rosemary, sage, oregano, marjoram, or dried basil but not fresh).
Any of these five herbs could be substituted for fresh or dried thyme.
Try these recipes using thyme.
- Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore
- Roasted Za’atar Potatoes Bacon & Green Beans
- North African Lamb Chops
- Instant Pot Nigerian Jollof Rice
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