What is Thyme? Taste, uses, Nutrition

Thyme is a perennial herb from the mint family that is commonly used as a culinary spice and has medicinal properties.

Thyme sprig

Thyme Sprig: Source: Elisabeth Patchwork

Thyme, a small but mighty herb, has been a culinary and medicinal staple for centuries. So, whether you’re a food enthusiast or a health-conscious individual, you may encounter this herb daily without even realizing it. But what exactly is thyme, and why is it so popular? In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating world of thyme and uncover its many uses and benefits. So, get ready to be amazed by the power of this humble herb!

What is Thyme?

Thyme is a perennial herb that belongs to the mint family. It is a versatile and flavorful herb commonly used in cooking with a distinctive aroma that adds depth to various dishes.

The herb is native to the Mediterranean and has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. Its small, delicate leaves are packed with essential oils, giving it a potent flavor and aroma.

Thyme is available in various varieties, including lemon, woolly, and creeping, each with a unique taste and appearance. Whether you’re a novice cook or an experienced chef, it is an essential herb in your kitchen arsenal.

Thyme Facts
Thyme is a perennial herb that belongs to the mint family.
This herb is commonly used in cooking and has a unique aroma and flavor.
It is native to the Mediterranean and is grown in many parts of the world.
It contains essential oils, including thymol, which has antiseptic properties.
It is a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and minerals like iron and calcium.
It can be used fresh or dried and is used in seasoning soups, stews, and meat dishes.
There are various varieties of thyme, including lemon, woolly, and creeping thyme.
It is often used for medicinal purposes due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
It is a popular ornamental plant and can be grown in gardens or pots.
In ancient times, thyme was believed to ward off evil spirits and was used in religious ceremonies.

What does thyme taste like?


When fresh it has a distinctively herbaceous taste characterized by its bright and zesty notes, with a slightly minty aftertaste. The fresh leaves are tender and pliable, perfect for garnishing and seasoning various dishes.

The fresh version also has a refreshing fragrance that adds a pleasant aroma to the food. The delicate flavor of fresh thyme makes it an excellent addition to marinades, dressings, and sauces, enhancing the dish’s overall taste.


On the other hand, dried has a more intense and concentrated taste than fresh. Drying the leaves removes most moisture, resulting in a more pungent flavor.

The dried leaves are brittle and crumbly, making them easy to crush and sprinkle onto dishes.

Dried version has more robust, with earthy and woody notes that can bring a depth of flavor to hearty soups, stews, and roasted meats.

While dried it may not have the same vibrant taste as when its fresh, it is an essential herb for long-term storage and can be used in various recipes where fresh is unavailable.

Nutrional value

Carbohydrates24.45 g
Protein5.56 g
Fat1.68 g
Fiber14.0 g
Vitamin C160.1 mg
Vitamin A1715 IU
Vitamin K1714.5 mcg
Iron17.45 mg
Calcium405 mg
Magnesium160 mg
Potassium609 mg

How to use Thyme in the kitchen

Thyme with chicken

Thyme is a versatile herb used in various dishes to add flavor and aroma. Here are some ways to use thyme in the kitchen:

  • Seasoning: Use fresh or dried thyme to season soups, stews, sauces, and meat dishes, such as chicken, beef, lamb, and pork.
  • Roasting: Sprinkle fresh thyme leaves over vegetables before roasting them in the oven to add flavor.
  • Infusing: Add a few sprigs to hot water or tea to infuse the herb’s flavor.
  • Marinade: Mix fresh thyme with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice to make a marinade for grilled chicken, fish, or vegetables.
  • Baking: Add it dry to bread, muffin, or biscuit dough for a savory flavor.
  • Salad dressing: Mix fresh thyme with olive oil, vinegar, and mustard to make a simple and tasty salad dressing.

What foods pair well with Thyme?

Thyme is a versatile herb that can enhance the flavor of many dishes. When it comes to pairing with food, several options work well.

One classic pairing is with roasted chicken. The earthy flavor of this herb complements the savory taste of chicken, making it a delicious combination.

You can use it fresh to season the chicken before cooking or sprinkle dried thyme while roasting.

It also pairs well with vegetables. Roasted potatoes, carrots, and squash all taste great with it.

In addition, the herb’s slightly sweet and minty flavor can balance out the natural bitterness of some vegetables.

Lastly, it can add depth to soups and stews. Whether you’re making a chicken noodle soup or a hearty beef stew, a pinch of this herb can add a layer of complexity to the dish. Do what is necessary, as it can be pretty potent.

Storing Thyme

Storing thyme properly can help preserve its freshness and flavor for longer. Here is how to do it:

  • Refrigerate: When fresh, this herb can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Wrap the fresh thyme in a damp paper towel and place it in a plastic bag before storing it in the fridge.
  • Freeze: Thyme can also be frozen for long-term storage. Wash the thyme, pat it dry, and remove the leaves from the stems. Place the leaves in a resealable plastic bag or an airtight container and freeze. Thyme can be frozen for up to six months.
  • Drying: You can also dry thyme by hanging it upside down in a cool, dry place until the leaves are dry and brittle. Strip the leaves from the stems and store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Dried thyme can be stored for up to six months.
  • Oil infusion: Another method for preserving thyme is to infuse its leaves in oil. This will help extend its shelf life and create a flavorful oil that can be used in cooking. Place the fresh thyme leaves in a jar and cover them with olive oil. Store the jar in a cool, dark place for up to one month.

Common question and answers

How do you store fresh thyme? To keep fresh thyme, wrap it in a damp paper towel and place it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen for longer-term storage.

What is the difference between fresh and dried thyme? Fresh thyme has a more vibrant flavor and aroma than dried thyme, but dried thyme is more concentrated and can be used in smaller quantities. Both forms can be used in cooking.

Can thyme be used in tea? Yes, it can be used to make a fragrant and flavorful tea. Simply steep fresh or dried thyme leaves in hot water for several minutes, then strain and enjoy. In addition, Thyme tea may have some health benefits, including improving respiratory health.

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