CHOOSING: Sold in little bundles of stems with the small leaves attached, thyme should appear fresh, not wilted.Sign up for our new weekly newsletter, ThePrep, for inspiration and support for all your meal plan struggles.STORING: Place freshly cut thyme in a plastic produce bag in the refrigerator, preferably not in the vegetable bin. .
How to Grow Culinary Thyme
The challenge of growing these Mediterranean herbs in Houston’s perpetual Turkish-bath climate was just the kind of respite I needed after a day of testing intricate spacecraft systems.I’m pleased to say that over the years, I’ve had much better luck growing thymes, primarily by mimicking their native habitat as closely as possible, and by learning how to prune the plants correctly.Have you ever stroked a plant of French thyme and then smelled your hands and thought of Vicks VapoRub?That’s because thymol, the dominant essence in French thyme, is the ingredient that gives the Vicks ointment its characteristic pungent odor.I find that lemon thyme goes well with vegetables and meats that aren’t too strong in flavor, like chicken and pork, and is especially good with fish.Caraway thyme’s botanical name, T. herba-barona, stems from its use during the Middle Ages to flavor the huge roast called a baron of beef.Unlike the first three, caraway thyme forms a broad, low mound of dark green foliage only about 4 in.All four varieties have leaves that persist through the year, and summer blossoms ranging from pale lavender or pink to white.One of the single most helpful things I learned about growing thyme is to mulch it with light-colored gravel, preferably one of limestone composition.Clues to thyme’s natural affinity for limestone rocks and chalky soil are spelled out in the names of some of the ornamental species—graniticus, gypsicola, and dolomiticus.The stone-chip mulch has a therapeutic effect, reflecting ultraviolet rays onto the branches, helping the thyme to resist fungal diseases in my humid Virginia climate.Using rock also lends a sense of authenticity, of beauty and grace to the planting.If you don’t have gravel, sand also works well, but it doesn’t look quite as picturesque.Because the soil condition requirement isn’t what best suits vegetables, thymes are better off planted with sun-loving ornamentals or other herbs, rather than with the tomatoes and lettuces.A diet that isn’t too high in nitrogen, which promotes leaves instead of flowers, also will yield more flavor for your kitchen.Oregano-scented and caraway thymes are the hardiest of the four, thriving in areas where winter lows drop to the single digits.If your winter temperatures stay below freezing for extended periods, you should count on either protecting French thyme or replacing it come spring.Thymes are shallow rooted, so keep watch for frost-heaved plants in winter, pressing them back into the ground with your foot.In this case, though, I’ve found that by adding some clay soil to the potting mix, I could stretch the time between waterings, with no ill effects.A woody thyme plant, while attractive in a bonsai sort of way, is a weak structural specimen and has a much-reduced area of active growth.The cat litter absorbs about eight times its weight in moisture, and the spaces between the granules encourage air circulation and help prevent rot.I strip the leaves off the lower two-thirds of the cutting, and then stick the stems deep into a pot of clean, unscented, clay-based cat litter.If the container is shallow, like the one in the photograph above, I run the cuttings in at an angle to give the stems plenty of length for sending out roots.• Mulch with light-colored stone chips, pebbles, or sand, which reflect light and keep plants healthy and thriving. .
14 Varieties of Thyme: Choose Your Favorite For the Kitchen or
Many different thyme varieties have been developed with specific flavors, aesthetics, and growth habits.It’s easy to grow nature also makes it a favorite in the ornamental garden.While there are hundreds of varieties to choose from, we’ve narrowed it down to the most common and the ones that you are more likely to find in a garden center or seed catalogs.These thyme varieties are grown for culinary use, though some are also used as ornamentals since they have large clusters of white, pink, or purple flowers.Culinary thyme is an excellent addition to vegetable gardens to attract pollinators.The leaves will have a sharper flavor and paler, narrower form when grown at the warmer end of its range.In her Complete Book of Herbs and Spices Sarah Garland says that when steeped into tea, it can help aid digestion; infused into oil, it makes an antiseptic rub.Common thyme grows 8-12 inches high and has white or pale lilac flowers.This variety of thyme was traditionally used to flavor barons of beef, a large top round roast.Lemon thyme has a lemony, citrus scent and is especially recommended for flavoring fish dishes, poultry, creamy sauces, and some desserts.It grows between 4 and 12 inches high and has tiny gray-green leaves and pale pink flowers.Silver Queen is another lemon thyme, good in tea and cooking.It has a narrower leaf than the English variety and is less hardy so the northern climates may choose to grow it as an annual.As its name suggests, Creeping Thyme is a flat ground-hugging plant usually no more than 3″ high.Wooly thyme has tiny grayish leaves and small pink flowers.All the varieties we’ve listed here can be used to add flavor to your favorite recipes, although some are stronger and more aromatic than others.Over 300 species of thyme have been identified with many other hybrids and subspecies that have adapted to different growing regions.The common thyme that has escaped into my lawn stands up to foot traffic pretty well too.One master gardener recommends lemon thyme as a ground cover, partly because it blooms less prolifically.If you want to add a scented walkway to your garden, don’t miss our article on using herbs as groundcovers.Both varieties will be more fragrant and have higher concentrations of oil if they are grown in warm, dry places.Thyme’s many varieties offer the gardener a wide range of fragrances, flavors, looks, and growth habits.But no matter which one you choose, don’t miss out on this easy-growing herb and be sure to find a place for thyme in your garden this year. .
Thyme Varieties For Cooking • CiaoFlorentina
I came across 8 thyme varieties for cooking as I was planning my own little herb container garden.Sprinkle a few over a salad, a bowl of rice and even in drinks, talk about a gorgeous garnish !Add them to a nice lemon thyme salad dressing for extra flavor and beautiful appeal. .
Add it to fish or chicken marinades, smoothies, and in any recipe calling for lemon juice, zest, or flavor.Another ground cover thyme, Creeping Pink fares best when it’s allowed to spread out rather than camp out between pavers.It has charming plumper leaves and a wealth of tiny pink flowers — and it’s much more heat and drought tolerant than other varieties. .
Varieties of Culinary Thyme
It’s safe to prune most thymes harshly, even by one-third to one-half, one or two times per season, but stop making significant cuts once late summer arrives if you live in a colder microclimate. .
Thyme Varieties for Culinary and Ornamental Use – Cherry Valley
Here at Cherry Valley, we grow dozens of different types of herbs, but one of our favorites is thyme.We tend to add too many to our seed list and then have to pare our selections down to the varieties we think will best suit our customers' gardens.When the foliage is crushed, the scent of lemon is unmistakable.has small, green leaves and smells like a freshly-peeled orange.It has small green leaves but isn't as hardy as some other types of thyme.This variety of thyme has chartreuse foliage and is excellent for both culinary and ornamental uses.It creeps around along the ground and has prolific spring growth.A beautiful variety, this thyme selection is primarily ornamental, though it's certainly edible.Woolly thyme makes a great ground cover or you can use it as a "crack stuffer," growing it between stepping stones or patio pavers.This unique time is variegated cream and white and has fairly broad leaves for a thyme.Its texture is very soft.Thyme has been cultivated since the time of the ancient Egyptians and has been used for culinary, medicinal, and spiritual purposes for thousands of years. .
What Is Thyme and How Is It Used?
The thyme plant is robust and hardy and will proliferate in your home garden during growing months or in an indoor planter year-round.Thyme is used to season all kinds of dishes, either by itself or as part of a blend or bouquet garni alongside other common herbs like rosemary, sage, and marjoram.The Romans considered the herb a symbol of bravery and strength—particularly with regards to military prowess—and would exchange it among themselves, pin sprigs to their garments before battle, and burn bunches of it to purify the air in homes and places of worship.During the Black Death in the Middle Ages, thyme’s active antiseptic compound, thymol, was thought to protect from infection and was used to treat skin lesions caused by the disease.Throughout its documented history, thyme has been incorporated into food preservation methods, owing to its pleasant herbal flavor and antibacterial properties.While dried thyme possesses a nearly identical flavor profile to its fresh counterpart, it typically needs to be rehydrated—whether on its own or during the cooking process (i.e. adding to a braised dish or bread dough)—in order to display its full range.Fresh thyme has a pronounced, concentrated herbal flavor with sharp grass, wood, and floral notes (like lavender and rosemary).Thyme can be used in its whole form, or by picking individual leaves from the stem with a gentle pinching motion at the base of each leaf cluster.Select a bunch with abundant, bright green leaf clusters on long stems featuring multiple sprigs.Store fresh thyme loosely wrapped in a damp paper towel, inside a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator, for up to two weeks.Dried thyme will retain its potency tightly sealed in a glass or plastic container in a cool, dark place for up to three years.While it does not technically expire, the dried herb’s essential oils will degrade and rapidly lose their flavor beyond that time.