Preserving The Harvest: Thyme

by Texas Homesteader ~

I’ve discovered my favorite herb to cook with is Thyme. It’s so versatile and it adds a delicious flavor to so many different dishes. I planted Thyme in my edible landscape several years ago.

They grew into tiny bushes and I cooked with fresh thyme often. But the drought took my plants so reluctantly I decided to buy jars of thyme for awhile instead of replacing those plants.

I was absolutely shocked when I saw the price of thyme in the stores. Although you can buy a large container of cinnamon for .99 or less, thyme was closer to $4 if it could even be found in our smaller rural stores!

Thyme is one of my absolute favorite herbs, but have you priced it at the stores??? I planted thyme to preserve so none goes to waste #TexasHomesteader

Buying A Thyme Plant Instead

Then I came across a small thyme plant they were trying to get rid of at the end of the season. I grabbed it thinking maybe I could grow it in a kitchen windowsill. The Thyme grew scraggly in no time and I knew I was going to lose it.

In desperation I pulled a single rooted stem and stuck it in an outside cement planter on our south-facing porch and it thrived there all winter!  Now finally it’s time to harvest and preserve some of it.

I took out the kitchen shears and lopped off the stems leaving about 1/2 the height of the plant. I brought the stems in and after a quick rinse I started pulling off the leaves.

I’ll keep the leaves in a wide bowl that I will leave on my kitchen counter. Each day I’ll fluff them to ensure even drying and they’ll be ready to store in about one to two weeks.

After about thirty minutes of pulling leaves I decided that was too much of a labor-intense way to harvest them so I decided to dry the rest of the stems first then crush the leaves from the stems after all is dried.

Hopefully I’ll also be able to harvest and preserve more throughout the year as well as using it fresh. I want to make sure I keep this thyme container FULL!

Even Easier Herb Drying

Oftentimes I’ll use the even LAZIER cook’s Herb-Drying Option. I’ll harvest bundles of my favorite herbs toward the end of the season. I always have thyme of course, but also oregano, sage and basil. They’re the herbs I use most often in my cooking.

I’ll give them a quick rinse and shake most of the water off of them. Then I’ll spread the bundles lightly and allow them to air dry a bit.

Finally I’ll bundle them up again and with cotton string (ie: the string leftover from our bags of feed) I’ll tie them up on the hooks RancherMan’s installed for me in my kitchen.

There they’ll stay for the rest of the season. I could strip the dry leaves and put them into small jars for use. But I really like the way they look hanging here. And I’m using them pretty much every day.

So most times I just leave them here until it’s time to harvest another bundle. Decorative functionality, y’all!

With my shock over the price of dried herbs purchased in the stores, the lesson has been learned! I’ll grow & dry my own home-grown Thyme as well as other herbs.

~TxH~

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22 thoughts on “Preserving The Harvest: Thyme

  1. Melissa @ My Darla Clementine

    Wait, did I miss something? All you have to do to dry it is leave it out at room temp? That’s awesome! I had imagined it would have been way more complicated than that! I’m excited to try it out. Thanks for sharing this with us on Simply Natural Saturdays!

    Reply
  2. Nikki Gwin

    I love my herb garden and I routinely use sage, chives, and basil. I grow thyme but have never found an easy way to harvest or really many ways to cook with it. I am excited to follow your progress with harvesting your own.
    🙂 gwingal

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I like to include thyme in my meat seasoning, and I always love sprinkling it on my garden veggies as I’m steaming them for a side dish. A eensy scraping of butter and fresh herbs really packs a punch. ~TxH~

      Reply
  3. Margy

    I cut the stems and let the leaves air dry that way. When they are completely dry they are easy to strip off the stems and store for use. Thyme is my favourite herb. – Margy

    Reply
  4. lisa M

    What a great post about Thyme! Your plant looks great, and that is a huge money saver!

    Thanks for sharing your post with Green Thumb Thursday. I hope you’ll join us again this week!

    ~Lisa

    Reply
  5. Joann Woolley

    I want to start an herb garden – I did not even know there were different types of thyme.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Herb gardens are typically very easy to grow Joann and it’s very fulfilling to stroll out & snip off a few leaves to incorporate into your dinner right then, right there. ~TxH~

      Reply
  6. Gentle Joy

    Wow, your little end-of-the-season plant sure thrived in its new home!! Nice…. also, thyme has some great medicinal uses, making it a WONDERFUL plant for the herb garden… I harvested and used it last year to help one of my kids who was having nightmares… it stopped them the first night and they never came back… I love using the herbs. 🙂 I also learned to strip the leaves off when dried… it is so much easier. 🙂

    Reply
  7. Lindsay

    Thank you for this! I have been going through a lot of thyme. I bought a jar last week and my son dropped the grocery bag on the sidewalk on the way into the house. 🙁 I told him it was wasted thyme. Ha ha ha. Once I clear out my herb garden a little more I am going to plant some.

    Reply
  8. Mary@Back to the Basics!

    I love cooking with Thyme! I use it so much that I hardly have leftovers to dry. Maybe I need to plant more! Thanks so much for sharing at the Creative HomeAcre Hop! Looking forward to seeing what you share this week!

    http://back2basichealth.blogspot.com/2013/06/join-us-at-creative-homeacre-hop_9.html

    Reply
  9. Kathe

    Thyme is one of my favorite herbs to use in cooking but I’ve never grown my own. I may have to rethink that! Thanks so much for sharing this at the party this week. I am featuring it on my Facebook page and pinning it to the You’re Gonna Love It Tuesday board on Pinterest 😉

    Reply
  10. Jenny

    We’ve enjoyed thyme in our garden. One of my favorite herbs to cook with. I have yet to try drying it. Thank you for sharing this at the HomeAcre Hop! We look forward to having you back again tomorrow: http://blackfoxhomestead.com/the-homeacre-hop/

    Reply
  11. Leah

    Thanks for sharing at the Friday Follow Along. I never thought to wait until it was dry to get those tiny leaves off!

    Reply
  12. Anne @ Unique Gifter

    That’s great that you managed to save it! I took pictures of the potted plants I planted on the weekend…. so I can remember what they look like while alive!

    Reply
  13. Zenda

    I love cooking with Thyme and have started to grow my own. I’m going to try your technique for drying it! Thanks for sharing!!

    Reply
  14. heidi

    I’ve had problems growing thyme, but maybe the plants I’ve had aren’t that hardy. Herbs from the garden always seem to taste so much better.

    Heidi’s Wanderings

    Reply
  15. Robert Nelson

    This is a great tutorial. Works for so many kinds of garden herbs! Thanks for posting to Green Living Thursdays at dudesustainable. Come back next week!

    Reply
  16. Carol

    I have difficulty maintaining a thyme plant indoors or out. They seem to dwindle away. Do you know which variety of thyme you have?

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Yes ma’am Carol, it’s lemon thyme, my favorite. Previously I planted lemon thyme and they grew into little bushes. Love it! ~TxH~

      Reply
  17. Nancy Davis

    Thyme is a pain to pull off and crush but great to have and save money! I have regular cooking thyme and lemon thyme now. Behind on cutting back both this spring but did manage to harvest some lemon thyme yesterday to dry. Hope yours continues to produce lots for you. Nancy

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Nancy, So far the thyme is still growing great and I plan to harvest off of it every couple of weeks! I also have some oregano that’s ready to harvest, as well as sage. Love it! ~TxH~

      Reply

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