Learn how to dry thyme naturally to fill up your spice cabinet. My pantry is almost filled with various dried and preserved goods.

Learning this dehydration process was worth a shot as I could stock up with amazing fresh herbs over a year. 

There is nothing more amazing than adding fresh herbs to your cooking. When you have bought a bulk of thyme on sale or produced in your garden more than you need, it’s time to process them to bulk up your spice counter!  

Thyme health benefits

Thyme can be utilized in various ways, including in food preparation, tea, skincare, gargling with thyme oil, and even inhalation. Also, thyme has been found to offer some advantages to your health. 

Thyme oil is frequently used in mouthwashes to cure oral infections, alleviate foul breath, and prevent gingivitis.

When cooking, fresh or dried thyme can be used in place of salt to assist in the lower salt intake or treat high blood pressure.

Here are some thyme health benefits which you should know:

1. Relieves pain 

The anti-inflammatory qualities of thyme can aid in pain relief. According to studies, thyme pills gave similar pain alleviation as ibuprofen for menstrual cramps.

Some people with rheumatoid arthritis apply thyme topically or use it as a tea to reduce their symptoms. There is some indication that the anti-inflammatory qualities of thyme may be beneficial, but additional studies are required to prove this.

2. Can suppress coughs naturally

Thyme has long been used as a natural treatment for bronchitis, respiratory illnesses, and coughs. It has been used in aromatherapy and as a tea in alternative treatment. 

A tiny study conducted in 2013 discovered that using a thymol nasal spray benefited participants’ coughs and coughing fits.

3. Antimicrobial properties

Thyme’s antifungal properties make it a useful disinfectant. Studies show that thyme, when applied as an essential oil, can be helpful as a disinfectant in homes with a low incidence of mold.

bunch of thyme wrapped in twine on burlap napkin with scissors

4. Helps with skin conditions

Skin disorders can benefit from the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects of thyme. It might aid in bacterial infection eradication and inflammation reduction.

As a result, it can aid in reducing the itch and swelling caused by disorders including eczema and acne.

5. Can be used as an insect repellent

Thyme oil may help to keep all the mosquitoes away. Thymol is an oil found in thyme, is frequently employed as an active component in insect repellents. 

You can combine thyme oil with water or olive oil to create your own natural insect repellant. This can save you from all the various diseases from insects.

How to dry thyme?

To prepare homegrown herbs for dehydrating, start by harvesting 5 to 6 inch stems and leave the tough woody parts. Avoid clean washing leaves as it might remove some flavorful essential oil. 

If you see the leaves are dusty and dirty, then lightly clean the leaves or use a damp cloth to rinse out the dirt.

After that, put them on a paper towel and pat them try. If there is any remaining moisture on thyme, it will increase the chances of moldy growth around it during the dehydration process. 

If you are dehydrating the leaves in the oven, the moisture on the leaves will soften them instead of drying them properly. That is why the leaves need to be completely dry before putting them in the dehydration process.     

How to dehydrate thyme?

Cut the fresh thyme sprigs off from the thyme plant using scissors or sharp pruners. Focus on cutting out the woody and tough parts. You can keep the leaves off or on the stems, but the dehydration timing might vary. 

Put the prepared thyme in your dehydrator tray, and leave some space in between the leaves for them to circulate enough air.

Start by drying the leaves at 105F/40C for 2-5 hours, or until the thyme looks completely dry and crumbly.   

A tip for those who are worried that the thyme leaves will fall out when they are drying eventually from the sprigs. For that, you might want to try the idea of using nonstick sheets for holding some air movement. 

You might want to make a stack of sprigs, mesh, nonstick sheet, and dehydrator tray to keep the leaves from falling. 

If you put thyme with the stems, make sure to take out the leaves from the stems while holding them over a bowl or pan and store them in an airtight container. 

How to dry thyme in the oven?

Get a baking pan big enough o lay the prepared thyme in a single layer, also keeping enough space for air circulation.

Line the baking tray with parchment paper or silicon mat so that the thyme doesn’t come in direct contact with metal. 

Keep the oven at the lowest temperature possible, like 120F/50C may take between 1-2 hours. If your oven doesn’t go lower than that, you might need to keep it open a little bit using heat resistant wooden spoon. 

Air drying process

If you don’t have a dehydrator and don’t want to use the oven for dehydrating thyme, then air drying is a great process to start drying. There are two basic steps you can follow for air drying, 

Drying thyme on paper

The type of paper you use for drying is essential for perfect drying. Parchment paper will be an ideal choice for drying thyme but avoiding baking papers, or waxed papers will not work. 

Now chop the thyme into small sprigs, put them in a single layer between two sheets of parchment, and let it sit until the leaves have dried out properly. 

It is essential that the air can circulate while thyme is drying on the paper, so only cover it with parchment and avoid using other things to cover it. 

When you are done with preparing and spreading the drying paper, put it in a nearby clean warmish dry location to help them dry completely.   

wooden spoonful of dried thyme leaves

Drying thyme by hanging bunches

If you have a lot of thyme to prepare for drying, start by hanging it in bunches which is a perfect technique to use.

All you need to do is organize the thymes and tie them into small bunches with twine. Place them upside down in a warm, dry place where they will not be disturbed. 

Use a paper bag to cover them from dirt and dust while drying. You will probably find it tiring because it takes a lot of time to dry the thyme. If you have more than one dehydrated tray, it’s not worth drying too much together. 

How to store dried thyme?

Once the thyme is completely dried, remove the leaves from the stem. Transfer them to a clean airtight container or glass jar.  

You can store thyme whole by crumbling it with your hands or grinding it with a coffee or spice grinder to enjoy a powdered version. Store the jar in a cool, dark place where it will last more than a year and keep its freshness. 

Want to freeze thyme? There’s no need to do that as dried thymes have extended shelf life. But if you have too much dried herb, you can keep it in a freezer-safe airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 years.    

How to use dried thyme

There are tons of ways to complement thyme in your savory recipes to increase the flavors and textures. It will pair well with vegetables, beans, cheese, baking goods, salad, soup, stew and many other dishes you can think of. Here are some of my few favorite methods to use dried thyme in my dish:

  • Thyme is used in mixed spice blends or herb salt like Italian seasoning, all-purpose seasoning, Lebanese Zaatar Blend (za’atar), etc. 
  • You can use herbed thyme butter to make your cooking more nutritious. 
  • Mixed with mixed berry compote or jams make the berry dishes more flavorful. 
  • I love to mix this spice blend in my stew and soup dishes like tofu curry, masala okra, potato and eggplant curry, black beans, quinoa biryani, etc.  
  • You can use them in baked goods like bread, casserole, homemade naan, bagels, etc. 
  • When you are making pizza, adding delicious herbs is a must thing to increase the flavors, and thyme will be a good choice. 
  • It pairs well in roasted vegetables recipes like roasted potatoes, turnips, asparagus, tomatoes, Brussell sprouts and more. 
  • Add some flavorful dried thyme to pasta and creamy sauce recipe of your choice.
  • Don’t be shy to mix in with your salad dressings and marinades.  

Is dried thyme as good as fresh thyme?

Nothing beats having fresh herbs in your recipes. If you use the correct methods of dehydrating the herbs, then they will retain all the nutrient elements and moisture of some properties, which will be as good as fresh ones. 

More fresh produce tips:

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