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The best way to Harvest Thyme the Proper Approach, In line with Specialists

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a hardy, drought-tolerant, woody-stemmed perennial herb that grows simply in backyard beds or backyard pots. Native to the Mediterranean area, the low-growing herb is usually used as a beautiful addition to many culinary dishes, together with sauces, soups, and stews.

As a member of the mint household, the fragrant herb presents a singular taste profile starting from earthy, minty, and barely floral with hints of lemon and pepper. Though thyme is a simple plant to develop, understanding when and find out how to harvest is essential in holding the plant wholesome, productive, and fewer “woody” for years to come back. Thyme vegetation are hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9, which implies they’ll survive right down to unfavorable 20 levels Fahrenheit.

Forward, we talked to backyard specialists to discover ways to harvest thyme for instant culinary makes use of and find out how to dry and retailer it for future enjoyment.

  • Sam Olvera, nursery supervisor and co-owner of Radical Roots Nursery in Winterport, ME
  • Garrett Sorber, co-owner of Radical Roots Nursery in Winterport, ME

Instruments You will Want

  • Basket
  • Pruning shears or herb shears
  • Alcohol wipes, heat water and cleaning soap, or a twig bottle with alcohol for disinfecting

To disinfect your shears correctly, merely swipe the innovative with an alcohol wipe or wash with heat water and cleaning soap. You may also fill a small spray bottle with alcohol and high quality mist the shears.

When you resolve to “pinch off” just a few thyme springs along with your fingers, be sure you wash your arms with heat water and cleaning soap earlier than taking the guide harvest. 

Make sure to correctly disinfect your shears when taking cuttings to assist stop the unfold of illness pathogens (like fungus) from one plant to a different.

Westend61 / Getty Photos

The best way to Harvest Thyme 

Since thyme is a woody-stemmed perennial, it’s not fairly a shrub or a tree, however it does develop some twigs and a crown. Nonetheless, correct harvest methods can hold the herbaceous plant from changing into too woody. Harvesting thyme recurrently not solely retains the plant from changing into too woody, however encourages new development, permitting the plant to develop lush and full whereas preserving its distinctive taste profile.

Earlier than You Begin

Assess the general well being of the plant. “You’ll be on the lookout for indicators of stress corresponding to wilted leaves, chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves), and bug harm. If, for no matter motive, your plant is unwell, it’s finest to handle these wants earlier than harvesting,” says Sam Olvera, nursery supervisor and co-owner of Radical Roots Nursery. In case your plant is in good well being, it’s time to reap.


Single Dish Harvests:

  1. Clear your reducing shears correctly earlier than making cuts.
  2. Minimize the brand new development simply above the bud, working your means across the plant till the demand is happy, says Olvera. Or, in case your stems are pliable and inexperienced, you possibly can harvest right down to the bottom of the plant. 
  3. For woodier elements of the plant, merely take the reducing above the nodes (the place the place the leaf meets the stem). “You may also take the older, woodier elements of the plant if you want,” says Olvera.

Massive Thyme Harvest:

  1. Utilizing clear, sharp shears, clip away the highest one-third to one-half of the plant, reducing immediately above the leaf node.
  2. Begin with the most important and most mature stems and work your means across the plant, harvesting as you go.

“At all times go away at the very least half to two-thirds of the plant; taking an excessive amount of might kill the plant,” says Olvera.

Karl Tapales / Getty Photos

When to Harvest Thyme for Continued Development

On the subject of harvesting high quality, flavor-packed thyme, correct timing is crucial. “So long as your plant is nicely established, quite a lot of inches throughout, and never lately transplanted, you possibly can harvest at just about any time throughout the rising season,” says Garrett Sorber, co-owner of Radical Roots Nursery.

For culinary use, corresponding to a single dish, thyme could be harvested anytime throughout the rising season (spring and summer season). Bigger cuts for future use, corresponding to drying, must be harvested solely two to 3 instances per yr, ideally within the spring, early summer season, and proper earlier than the plant flowers. “The flavour of thyme will probably be finest earlier than it begins flowering, though the small flowers are edible and scrumptious says,” says Sorber.

With bigger harvests, keep in mind to not take greater than half of the plant at a time, or the plant would possibly turn out to be confused and even die. 

The best way to Retailer Recent Thyme

Recent thyme sprigs could be simply saved within the fridge in a zip-lock bag or air-tight container for as much as two weeks. “Relying in your fridge circumstances, contemporary thyme will solely keep good for a few week earlier than it begins to get moldy,” says Sorber. “Typically, it’s higher to both use it contemporary or protect it for long-term storage by drying it or including it to honey.”

To retailer freshly harvested thyme in a container or a zip-lock bag, merely line the container or zip-lock bag with damp paper towels. Place your thyme sprigs (or leaves) on high of the damp towel, overlaying the thyme utterly with one other damp towel. Make certain the container and/or zip-lock bag is correctly sealed.

You may also place the bottom of your minimize stems in a cup of water, place a plastic bag excessive of the herb, and retailer it within the fridge. 

The best way to Dry Thyme

Hanging thyme to dry is a timeless and easy technique of drying herbs for future use. When you’re harvesting in bigger portions at a time, Olvera says it is a good technique of selection, and it solely requires a few objects that you simply probably have round your home.

Instruments You will Want

  • Rubber band or twist tie
  • String
  • Sealed container


  1. After you harvest, bundle up the thyme stems and use a rubber band or twist-tie to carry all of them collectively towards one finish. 
  2. Then, use a string to hold up your bundle till it’s absolutely dry. 
  3. It’s essential that the drying location is out of direct solar and will get good airflow. (A coated patio normally works nicely, or you possibly can cling them indoors if there’s wet climate.)
  4. After the thyme is totally dry, retailer it in a sealed container (a mason jar with a lid works nicely), and it’ll last as long as two years.
  5. To make sure the go away retain their taste profile, crush or grind thyme immediately earlier than consuming.

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