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Spotlight on Herbs: Thyme

Submitted by: suzanne-mcminn on May 21, 2011
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Spotlight on Herbs: Thyme

I have no time for all the thyme!


Seriously, my thyme is out of control.

I don’t really like thyme. Well, I don’t mean that. I like thyme. But I don’t like dealing with thyme. I like herbs that have big leaves that are easy to …




I have no time for all the thyme!

Seriously, my thyme is out of control.

I don’t really like thyme. Well, I don’t mean that. I like thyme. But I don’t like dealing with thyme. I like herbs that have big leaves that are easy to handle. Just dehydrate and crumble as needed. Thyme has little, tiny leaves. Separating out the stems, which I don’t like, is a hassle.

I’ve even thought about quitting growing thyme, just because I don’t like dealing with it, but I’m pretty sure if I tried to kill it, it would attack me with a vengeance.

Because I’m almost afraid of this thyme. Though it does look awfully pretty creeping out toward my little path in my herb garden. (And it’s not even creeping thyme.)

Did you know the Egyptians used thyme for embalming? Ewww. This does not endear me to thyme. On the other hand, legends tell of drinks made of thyme that allowed people to see fairies. Perhaps I shall fix a drink of thyme, see the fairies, then implore them to use their little, tiny hands to take the leaves off the thyme stems for me! Thyme is native to the Mediterranean, but is popular all over the world now. It has a pungent, aromatic scent, and works well in everything from salads to soups and casseroles to desserts. (Mix it with butter for a delicious and easy gourmet spread.) It’s especially good in poultry and pork recipes.

I’d like to continue to grow and dry my own thyme (because, truly, I love it), so if you’ve got any timely thyme advice for me, hand it over! Any favorite thyme recipes, or ideas for using thyme? (Submit recipes here!)

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19 comments | RSS feed for comments of this post

  1. 5-21

    You do strip your thyme, don’t you? (Hold thyme stem by growing tip. Strip thyme leaves from stem by gently sliding pinched fingers down along stem from top to bottom.)

    • 5-21

      bonita, I do try to strip them, but that never seems to work very well for me. (Lots of waste–leaves that don’t come off.)

  2. 5-21

    If I am using it fresh is soups or stews I just throw a few sprigs in and then I fish out the sticks later after the leaves have fallen off.

  3. 5-21

    When I dry our thyme I hang it in bunches. When its dry I take the bunches down and crunch them lightly over a large bowl. Most of the dried leaves come off and the stems are left behind. You will have to pick out a few stems and bit though. For fresh thyme I strip off as much as I can get off of each stem or just through it in whole and deal with it at the end.

  4. 5-21

    Quit trying to strip the leaves off years ago! Whether it stews, soups, or a roasted meat, I just throw the whole stem in, as others have said, fishing out the stem later, if need be.

    For me it’s just easier to remove the long stem later than to deal with the itsy witsy tee-tiny leaves plus whatever small bits of stem end up in the dish with those leaves.

    The other answer is to have so much of it growing here and there that removing long chunks of stem is part of the pruning process. I never clip off short ends – always long stems. They are sooo much easier to remove.

  5. 5-21

    Thyme is so wonderful however my favorit is lemon thyme. I have 3 plants right now but want more. I love to just go out the garden and rum the leaves and smell it. It has such a calming feeling to it kinda like lavender.
    I normaly use it with fish. When my family goes fishing to catch some trout I take some or wait till I get home. I put the lemon thyme and some sliced lemon and put it in the cavity of the fish with a few other herbs. Put the fish in some foil and put it on the grill. Yummy!!!

    I think it’s time to go fishing.

  6. 5-21

    I agree Jennifer, that lemon is my favorite. Thyme is great with chicken. Lemon thyme and a little white wine makes a great marinade for grilled chicken. I dry it on the stems, keep some short pieces for tossing in a pot and crumble the leaves off of some like Tori mentioned. Thyme is great in savory dishes.


  7. 5-21

    I use fresh thyme in a Cornmeal/Thyme cookie.
    I’ll get that recipe and post it for you. I know cookies will be eaten at your house, Suzanne!

  8. 5-21


  9. 5-21

    I use lemon thyme—or lemon and thyme— in my tea breads and lemon bar cookies. I’ve posted a lemon and thyme madeleine recipe over at FBR.

  10. 5-21

    My favorite way to use thyme is when roasting chicken. Suzanne, I’m contemplating starting my own herb garden. I was wondering, do you start new plants every year, or do some of the herbs continue to come back? If so, what do you have to replant every spring? Up until now, I’ve just kept herbs in hanging baskets in my kitchen year round, but 1) there’s not much space for so many plants, and 2) they don’t really like to be inside in the winter and I can’t harvest much in the winter months anyway.

    • 5-21

      Lisa, what came back: sage, oregano, chives, and thyme. What I had to replant: basil, rosemary, parsley. I also added dill this year, not sure if it comes back or not.

  11. 5-21

    have never grown thyme… but love the creeper addition to your garden steps. 🙂

  12. 5-21

    My dill always reseeds itself. 🙂 That’s one thing that I have planted outdoors.

  13. 5-21

    Hello Suzanne,

    I love Thyme! I enjoy the earthy flavor of it in Stews ans Pizza Sauce. I just submitted a recipe I came up with for Strawberry-Thyme Jam. I hope you like it 🙂


  14. 5-21

    Let some of the dill go to seed and the seed fall away and it will come back. If I remember right, parsley is a biennial, meaning it’ll come back once and then you need to replant/replace. I’ve never had luck over-wintering rosemary. Have had some awesome plants but even being brought indoors I’ve lost them =sniff=


  15. 5-23

    Rosemary is a tender perennial – it always dies for me up in Maine but some can cover it and get it through the winter. Basil, dill, and cilantro (among others) are annuals, and I have to replant them every year (or let them reseed). Parsley is indeed biennial – the second year it will make flowers and seed, so it’s not as good for eating.

  16. 5-23

    Woody herbs, like Rosemary and lavender, can easily be propagated, as well. Choose a stem near the ground, scrape a little of the outer layer till you can see some green. Then, bury that part under the soil, still attached to the plant. It will root and you can have another plant for free! If you want to learn all about herbs, a great book is The Pleasure of Herbs by Phyllis Shaudys. Available online, I highly recommend it! I learned and fell in live with herbs from this book. it tells how to grow them, harvest them, cook and craft with them. it even talks about the history and medicinal uses.

  17. 5-23

    Um, fell in “love”

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