Thyme is one of the fresh herbs commonly used in Italian and French Cuisine. Common thyme (the most widely used variety) imparts a flavor that is both minty and earthy though some other thyme varieties have a slight lemony tang. It is worth noting that there over 300 varieties of this herb. Fresh thyme can be used to flavor everything from soups to stuffing and meat dishes. During the seasons when fresh thyme is not available, dried thyme is usually used.
If you are considering using one of the other forms of this versatile herb, it is important to consider a number of factors such as: Are there any differences between fresh thyme vs dried? Do both forms of thyme taste the same? Do you use fresh and dried thyme in the same amounts?
Do fresh and dried thyme taste the same?
In its dried form, thyme retains much of the flavor and aroma of its fresh counterpart. Unlike many other herbs, it does not acquire a dry or straw-like taste once it loses its moisture. This means that fresh and dried thyme are generally interchangeable as far as flavor is concerned.
Do fresh and dried thyme look the same?
When fresh, the leaves of common thyme have a deep green color with a lighter colored underside. The stems are usually a light brownish-yellow. When dried, the leaves become darker grayish green and the stems take on a darker brown.
Are fresh and dried thyme used in the same ways?
Because drying thyme removes much of the volume, it will be necessary to alter your amounts when using fresh thyme vs dried. The formula for determining how much dried thyme to use is as follows: six sprigs of fresh thyme are equal to 3/4 teaspoon of dried ground thyme.
Note that this is a general guideline and the amount that you use depends on the age of your dried thyme as well as how long its container has been open. You may want to use more of it if you feel that your dish lacks flavor.
Also note that in both cases, it is a good idea to add thyme at the start of the cooking process in order to ensure that it gets a chance to release its oils fully and to flavor the dish.
Is dried thyme as healthy as fresh?
As with most herbs, the fresh form is often seen as the most healthy; however, dried thyme is also healthy. When dried, thyme will lose some of its volatile oils along with vitamins. The upside is that the nutrients that are left can be preserved for a long time. Thyme in both dried and fresh forms can be used as a topical antiseptic and antifungal as well as to treat respiratory ailments.
Are there differences in storage methods for fresh thyme vs dried?
The best storage method for fresh thyme is to place it in the refrigerator. You should wrap it in a slightly damp paper towel and place it in a resealable plastic bag. It can be kept like this for up to a week. When dry, you can store thyme in a tightly sealed glass container for a year or longer depending on how often the container is opened.