How To Harvest Thyme And Store It Right


Thyme is an distinctive herb to develop within the backyard and is a aromatic addition to many culinary dishes.  If you might be new to rising thyme in your backyard or love cooking with this herb, it is very important know when and how you can harvest thyme.  

Thyme has some distinctive varieties similar to backyard thyme (Thymus vulgaris), lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus), caraway thyme (Thymus herba-barona), or wooly thyme (Thymus psuedolanguinosus).  You might wish to search your native nurseries for thyme, as this plant could be a little troublesome to propagate if grown instantly from seed.  If you will have a gardener buddy, ask for a chopping from their thyme plant.  This is how I began cultivating my lemon thyme! 

Thyme originates from the Mediterranean and is straightforward to develop, low upkeep, and drought tolerant.  You will wish to develop thyme in a location with full solar and well-drained sandy soil.  Some gardeners develop thyme in containers to convey indoors throughout the winter or in herb gardens subsequent to rosemary, oregano, parsley, and sage.  

It may be thrilling to have direct entry to this culinary herb however take into account that harvesting thyme on the incorrect time and even overharvesting could cause harm and gradual its progress.  Properly harvesting thyme and the occasional prune can encourage extra progress and create a full, bushy, and comfortable plant!

Not solely will we offer tips about harvesting thyme, however we’ll cowl strategies of storing recent and dried thyme for long-lasting taste.  Now let’s be taught extra about how you can take pleasure in your bountiful harvest!

When Should I Harvest Thyme?

Once you understand how to reap thyme, it’s actually a sport changer! Source: cookbookman17

First query, how previous are your thyme vegetation?  If you might be within the first yr of planting thyme, it’s endorsed to be very (very!) sparse and light-weight with harvesting.  This first yr is vital for letting the vegetation set up so as to take pleasure in years of pleasant harvests!  Feel free to take a couple of small sprigs from the tip of the thyme or a couple of leaves to taste your dishes each from time to time.  Keep in thoughts that your vegetation are nonetheless a child and can’t tolerate an excessive amount of harvesting of their first yr within the backyard. 

Since there are numerous enjoyable styles of thyme to domesticate and so they fluctuate in peak.  We suggest wanting on the width of your thyme plant.  If the thyme is at the least 4-5 inches throughout in diameter, it has matured and is prepared for harvest!  

You can harvest recent thyme periodically all through the rising season, spring and summer season.  For essentially the most taste out of your herbs, trim cuttings proper earlier than or because the plant flowers.  The greatest time of the day to reap thyme is on a sunny morning after the leaves are dry from any dew or moisture.  The morning supplies essentially the most perfume in thyme.  Avoid harvesting throughout the winter months when the vegetation are dormant and rising slowly.  

If you might be rising thyme as an annual, or in colder areas outdoors of its rising zones, it’s endorsed to do a serious harvest in your backyard proper earlier than the primary frost.  Thyme can tolerate a lightweight frost however for profitable storage and scrumptious taste, attempt to harvest on the finish of the rising season earlier than any chilly temperature and moisture adjustments. 

How To Harvest Thyme

You will want sterilized pruners or backyard shears if you find yourself prepared to reap out of your thyme vegetation.  When you might be harvesting thyme, you might be creating an open wound so clear gear will assist preserve your vegetation wholesome.  If you pinch or tear off leaves or stems, the harm to your plant can create a weak level for ailments or infestations (yikes!).  

Take younger recent sprigs or leaves if you find yourself harvesting.  Avoid cuttings of the woody components of the plant.  These woody sections are much less aromatic, not excellent for culinary makes use of, and are an integral part for the plant to regrow.  Also, keep away from harvesting after the vegetation have gone to seed within the fall.  The flavors will likely be lower than excellent for cooking with.  During the summer season, you possibly can take away the flowers to stop them from going to seed. 

Do not take greater than 1/third of the plant at any given time.  Thyme thrives from come-and-cut once more harvests of a sprig or two.  This light-cutting technique will stimulate progress right into a full and bushy form.  At any time of harvesting, you should definitely house your collections from throughout the plant moderately than simply choosing from one location.

Cut above a leaf node, this can encourage bushier progress and contribute to extra alternatives for future harvests! 

How To Store Fresh Thyme

Thyme bagged for freezing
Bag up your thyme for long-term freezer storage. Source: phoenixar

Now that you’ve got your freshly harvested thyme, how will we retailer it?  First, resist washing your harvest.  This will rinse off the aromatic oil in your herb.  To maximize the thyme taste, attempt to use it inside the first 3 days of harvesting.  Let’s discover how you can lengthen its taste in case you have an abundance of herbs.  

To preserve freshness, attempt to preserve the leaves on the stem whereas storing.  To retailer within the fridge, you possibly can wrap the stems in a humid paper towel and seal them inside a plastic bag.  This technique will preserve the thyme recent for two weeks.  You can place the stems in a glass jar with an inch of water for longer fridge storage.  This can final in your fridge for as much as 3 months so long as you periodically change the water out. 

To freeze recent thyme, you possibly can place your herb instantly right into a freezer bag.  Then you possibly can decide off the tiny leaves each time you might be cooking and want recent thyme.  Another freezer technique is to take away the leaves from the stem and place them into ice dice trays full of water.  Once the ice cubes are frozen, pop them right into a freezer bag for additional storage.  The recent taste can final 6 months within the freezer. 

How To Dry Thyme

There are a number of strategies to dry thyme similar to utilizing a meals dehydrator, hang-drying or air-drying.  If you want to wash your herbs of any particles, place them on a towel afterward and pat dry.  Let them fully dry out for at the least 2 hours from their rinse. 

Keep the leaves on the stems for meals dehydration, should you don’t the tiny leaves may fall by way of the trays.  Preheat the dehydrator to its lowest temperature, round 100 levels Fahrenheit.  Lay the cuttings in a single layer on the trays.  This course of can take wherever from 1-4 hours to dry so you should definitely examine steadily.  When the leaves are crispy and crumbly, that is a sign that you’re achieved with the drying course of.  Let the herbs calm down for an hour earlier than eradicating them from the dehydrator.  

For hang-drying, you’ll want to use lengthy stem cuttings of thyme which can be at the least 6 inches lengthy. Tie 6-8 stems along with string and cling the other way up in a location that’s heat, dry, and out of the direct solar.  Sometimes the leaves drop off the stem on this drying course of.  If you wish to protect these tidbits, tie a paper bag over the bundles, reduce a couple of air slits into the bag with scissors and this can catch any of these free thyme leaves.  If you will have a number of bundles, make sure that to house them a couple of inches aside to permit for air circulation. This course of takes 2-3 weeks for the herbs to fully dry into their desired situations when the leaves are dry and crumbly. 

If you favor to dry the thyme leaves with out the stems, you possibly can place them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Stir the leaves round each 12 hours and in 2-3 days, the leaves will likely be dried. 

Storing the dried herbs is the ultimate step!  You can place them with the stem or take away the leaves right into a clear, dry hermetic container. If you take away the dried leaves from the stems, this could be a tedious course of as a result of the leaves are fragile and may be crushed. 

Place the container in a darkish, dry location.  You might wish to examine on the herbs in a couple of weeks and seek for any residual moisture which will have been launched within the containers.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Drying thyme
There are a number of methods to dry thyme for long-term storage. Source: Ro’smom

Q: How do you narrow thyme?

A: Use sterilized backyard scissors or shears and reduce a sprig that’s a number of inches lengthy above a leaf node or trim a couple of leaves off.  Avoid chopping the woody stems.  

Q: What do you do with thyme within the fall?

A: There are a couple of choices after you will have harvested your thyme. If you reside in Zone 4 or a chilly area, take into account planting thyme in a couple of potted containers that you would be able to convey indoors.  Place it in a sunny location and it’ll continue to grow all through the winter season.  Or you possibly can cowl the thyme plant in plastic if it’s outdoors within the floor.  To prep the plant for overwintering outdoor, pile a number of inches of mulch and soil across the base of the thyme to maintain the roots heat.

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