Harvesting, Preserving & Using Fresh 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. And the price of growing fresh thyme in your garden is so much less than buying it – plus it’s much fresher!

Fresh thyme in metal bowl in front of wooden birdhouse. #TexasHomesteader

Growing Fresh Herbs: Thyme

I planted Thyme in my edible landscape several years ago.

They grew into tiny bushes and I cook with fresh thyme often.

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

What Food Does Thyme Pair Well With?

Thyme is a great herb to season many types of foods, such as potatoes, carrots, stews, chicken, venison and more.

I like to use thyme as a fragrant seasoning when I make:

Air fryer fried chicken, steamed asparagus and seasoned rice. #TexasHomesteader

Buying A Living Thyme Plant Instead

Several years ago the drought took my thyme 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!

Buying A Live Thyme Plant Instead Of Dried Herb

I came across a small thyme plant at the end of the season at a big-box store that they were trying to get rid of. I planted the thyme and it grew well. Finally came the time to harvest and preserve some of that fresh thyme.

Harvesting Fresh Garden Thyme

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 spread the stems on a platter on my kitchen counter.

Each day I fluffed the stems to ensure even drying. When they were fully dried I took each of the stems and rolled them between my hands.

The leaves fell into the bowl below leaving only the tougher stems in my hands, which went into my compost bucket.

That dried home-grown thyme was then placed in a labeled glass herb jar. Once again I was able to use this thyme in my cooking.

And my dried thyme was much fresher than an expensive purchased jar of thyme that had languished on the store shelves for who knows how long.

It’s very true that the fresher your dried herbs are, the more flavorful they are and the better the taste imparted to your recipe.

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 harvest fresh herbs at the end of the season and dry them for use all year long. #TexasHomesteader

I give them a quick rinse and shake most of the water off of them. Then I spread the bundles lightly on kitchen towels 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 hanging 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.


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17 thoughts on “Harvesting, Preserving & Using Fresh 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!

  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

    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~

  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

  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!


  5. Joann Woolley

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

    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~

  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. 🙂

  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.

  8. 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 😉

  9. 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!

  10. 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!!

  11. 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?

    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~

  12. 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

    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~


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