Fresh herbs like thyme add rich flavors to recipes when added in the beginning and finishing touch at the end. They add color to pasta and can be used as a sauce for everything, such as in meat and veggies. However, they do not last long, but here’s the best way to store fresh thyme.
To maximize the shelf life of fresh thyme in the refrigerator, wrap the thyme in a damp paper towel, and then place it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. If properly stored, fresh thyme will usually keep well for about 10 to 14 days in the refrigerator.
Another way is you can place them in your refrigerator or look for a taller resealable container to keep water from spilling, just in case of accidental knocked over. Frequent water changes can keep your thyme last for up to three months or longer.
How To Store Fresh Thyme From The Garden
Thyme is a woody, perennial herb that is commonly harvested and sold as fresh sprigs or individual leaves. It is often used in culinary or as medicinal herbs, and in some cases as incense.
If You Use Thyme Use it Within a Week
Set aside the amount you are going to use in your dish, then refrigerate the rest. Wrap the thyme sprigs loosely in plastic wrap and place them in a sealed plastic container. Put the container in the warmest part of your refrigerator. Some people prefer to bundle the loose sprigs in a paper towel before wrapping them in plastic.
It is because paper towels can reduce the essential oil that loosens by minimizing the bruising of delicate leaves. Record the contents and the “use by date” (one week) on the masking tape or other label.
Preserving The Thyme Sprigs For More Than A Week
Rinse the harvested sprigs, keeping the leaves attached in clear running water.
Pat the sprigs dry using paper towels.
Be gentle because the delicate leaves bruise fairly easily and will lose some of their essential oils. Wrap a piece of string or a bay leaf around a few of the stems to bundle them. You can use as many sprigs or as you like when creating your bouquet. Make sure not to tie them too tightly or you might snap the items.
Thyme bouquets are best when used in marinades or with anything that can be roasted. Be sure to remove the woody stem before consumption.
Another way of storing thyme is by detaching the leaves. Detach the leaves from the stem using either your fingers or fork.
Do this only after the sprigs have been washed well and patted dry. If you use your fingers, gently hold the top of the stem with one hand and use your other hand to pinch and run down the stem detaching the leaves.
If you wish to use a fork instead, gently hold the top and run the stem between the tines. Spread the leftover leaves on a plate in a cool location. Check the leaves after several days to see if the drying process is completed. If not, stir the leaves gently and return them to the plate to the drying area.
Push the thyme leaves into a pile when they are dry. Transfer the leaves to a resealable container. These dehydrated thyme leaves should be stored in the refrigerator. Label the container with the “packed on” date and the contents. Keep in mind that dried thyme is one of the best herbs for retaining the flavor.
How To Store Fresh Thyme In The Fridge
The first thing to think about when storing fresh herbs is classifying whether or not they are hard or tender herbs. Hard herbs are those with woody stems like rosemary or thyme. Tender herbs are those with softer stems, such as mint and rosemary.
Thyme’s hardiness means that you can simply toss it into a resealable container, then stick it in your refrigerator with no other precautions. It must remain usable for a few weeks.
Stored properly, fresh thyme will usually keep well for about 10 to 14 days in the refrigerator.
The third option for long-term storage is to stand your thyme sprigs up like a bouquet in a drinking glass or jar with about an inch of water inside.
You can place them in the refrigerator or you may look for a taller resealable container to keep the water from spilling. If you frequently change your water, your thyme can last for three months or longer using this method.
How To Store Thyme In The Freezer?
To store thyme in the freezer, just take fresh thyme leaves and place them in ice cube trays.
Cover them with water and freeze.
Once frozen, transfer the cubes to freezer bags and use them as soup starters or “flavor bombs” in soups or roasts. If you need to use whole thyme leaves, just freeze the entire stems of thyme in the freezer bags. Once frozen, the whole leaves will easily come off the stem.
If properly stored, thyme can last for about 4 to 6 months but will remain safe beyond that time. The freezer timeline is for best quality thyme only.
Thyme that has been kept constantly frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit will keep safe indefinitely. You can tell that the thyme is already bad or spoiled if it becomes soft and discolored. Discard the thyme that has an off smell or appearance.
Here is a step by step guide on how to freeze thyme sprigs:
- Wash the thyme properly. You don’t want to freeze them with bugs or dirt.
- You now need to carefully dry the thyme. The best way to do this is to place it between two sheets of kitchen towel and squeeze it between the layers. The kitchen paper will absorb a lot of excess moisture.
- Line a ziplock bag with a kitchen towel on either side. Slide the thyme into the center of the bag.
- Seal the bag, then squeeze out as much of the air as possible.
- Place the bag in the freezer.
Remember that if you store them in the bag, make sure you do not crush them. If possible, transfer the sprigs to a more solid container once frozen.
Can You Plant Store-Bought Thyme?
Buying herbs in the grocery store is easy but can be pricey and the leaves easily wilt. If you are planning to plant store-bought herbs, you might be wondering if that’s possible.
Well, the answer is it depends.
There are a few types of herbs you can see at the grocery store: fresh cuttings with no roots, small bundles with some roots still attached, or small potted herbs. With the right technique, you can take any one of these and then turn them into a new plant for your home herb garden.
If you find thyme that is not in soil but has roots attached, there is a possibility that it is grown hydroponically. The best way to continue growing the herb is to continue the practice. Putting them into the soil may not produce great results since that is not how they have been used to growing.
Keep your hydroponic, rooted herbs using well water or distilled water. Make sure to keep the plant above the waterline and the roots submerged. You may use liquid hydroponic food or liquid kelp to feed the plant.
For cut herbs from the grocery store, it is still possible to get them to develop roots. Rooting herb cuttings can be done easily using softwood herbs like basil, oregano, or mint. With woodier herbs like thyme, you can take a cutting from the newer, greener growth.
Make a fresh, angled cut on the stem and remove the lower leaves. Put the cutting in water with the remaining leaves above the waterline. You can keep growing them in a hydroponic system with added food.
Another way is to transplant the cuttings once they grow roots and start growing them in soil. If you need a few leaves, just snip them out.
Meanwhile, here is a rundown of good brands of dried thymes: