How to Dry Fresh Thyme at Home
Thyme is a fragrant herb which is grown naturally in warm climates. It is a hardy and resistant plant which can be grown in various climates. This is in comparison to other common kitchen herbs such as basil or mint which have more fragile leaves. Despite being so resistant, it will decay over time once cut from its stem. The flavor comes from the leaves, although a whole stem may be used in cooking to keep the leaves together.
Although thyme can be used fresh, we may find we have bought too much for our needs. For this reason, oneHOWTO shows you how to dry fresh thyme at home. We show you how you can do it with a microwave, conventional oven, dehydrator or even in the open air.
Air dry thyme
The most natural way to dry fresh thyme is in the open air, although it is not necessarily the easiest. This is because it takes longer and we need to ensure the herb does not spoil or become rotten.
The keys to letting the thyme dry is by intervening in the process as little as possible and ensuring the best environment:
- Cut only the branches that do not have flowers and are flush with the main stem, just as you would when pruning. If the branches are very large and you only want to take a part, always cut above a nodule or bud to favor subsequent growth.
- Thoroughly wash the branches under the tap to remove any remaining soil or dirt particles. Shake them gently to remove excess water.
- Join several branches in a bouquet of no more than 5 or 6 and tie them with a thread or string. This makes drying easier. Do not tighten them too much so that air can circulate between the leaves, preventing them from blackening or becoming moldy.
- Hang them with the stems up in a dry place with good ventilation, always making sure that they are not in direct sunlight.
- Let them dry for one to two weeks. After this time, you will be able to keep the branches intact or directly separate the leaves and keep them in a suitable container.
Dry thyme in the oven
The oven is the method most people are likely to carry out as it is relatively straight forward. It is a very safe and effective way to dry thyme and is much quicker than open-air drying.
- Preheat the oven to a medium temperature of around 150 ºC/300 ºF. Any higher is likely to cook them.
- Wash, shake and place the branches on parchment paper in an oven tray. Do it in a single layer, not on top of each other.
- Insert the tray in the central area when the oven reaches the ideal temperature.
- Let dry between 45 minutes and 1 hour. If you notice that the leaves are still green, you can extend the drying time a little longer.
- Remove the tray and let the thyme cool down. You can now break the branches or separate the leaves.
Dry thyme in the microwave
If the recipe you're preparing calls for dried thyme and you only have fresh, microwaving can solve the problem quickly. Although the microwave is be effective when it comes to achieving your goal, but you will have to be more exacting with the times if you want to prevent the fresh thyme leaves from burning:
- Place the thyme on absorbent paper and place it in a microwave-safe container.
- Microwave on medium-high power for 15-20 seconds.
- Stop it and check how the leaves are going. If they are still green, repeat for 10 seconds.
Keep repeating until you have the right level of dryness, but shorten the time accordingly. You can always microwave it for longer, but not for shorter time periods.
Dry Thyme in the Food Dehydrator
As the name of this practical small appliance indicates, its function is to eliminate the liquids contained in any food. Fresh thyme leaves are no exception. It is the most precise way of drying them perfectly and maintaining all their aroma and flavor.
- Place the thyme in an appropriate container and put the dehydrator on medium-low temperature to ensure the correct drying process.
- Let the dehydrator act for between 1 and 2 hours. The time will depend on the number of stems you have introduced.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Dry Fresh Thyme at Home, we recommend you visit our Gardening & plants category.
- To keep the thyme in optimal conditions once it is dry, store it in a glass container with an airtight seal and protect it from direct light.
- Do you want an idea to take advantage of fresh thyme if you don't want to dry it? Put some branches in olive oil and not only will it be preserved, but you will have a delicious and aromatic thyme oil.