Cooking With Thyme

Cooking With Thyme
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The Greeks believed that Thyme imparted strength and fortitude. Later, in medieval time ladies embroidered thyme on scarves for their knights to carry as token of bravery. There are hundreds of varieties of thyme, but for culinary needs three are used the most; garden thyme, lemon thyme and caraway-scented thyme. Growing these three plants will provide you with a wonderful herb to accent almost any dish, even desserts.
You can easily grow a pot of thyme on your back porch, harvest it all summer and place it in a sunny window when cold weather arrives. If you live in a mild climate you will be able to harvest year round outside!

If you can only grow one thyme I would opt for the common garden thyme. It's hardy to -20 degrees, and can be used in countless recipes. You can use it fresh, dried or frozen. To grow thyme plant it in a very sunny, dry spot. It doesn't like heavy soils, or shade, but if given a sunny location it will flourish. Be sure to harvest your thyme often because it does tend to get woody and spread out. With so many options in preserving and using it, this should not be a problem.

Harvest just as thyme is flowering for the most flavor, but I snip every time I need some in a recipe as well. Cut small bunches, tie and hang in an airy, dry location until dry. You can also dry on screens in the same type of location. Thyme can be frozen too in small freezer bags. The plant can be be cut to a few inches from the ground for a full harvest.

Lemon thyme can be used in your favorite sugar cookie or muffin dough, as well as in breads and fruit salads. Caraway thyme is a aromatic accent to meats when roasting.

To show how versitile thyme is, I have a selection of recipes using the herb with different meats and dishes.

Green Beans With Herbs


1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed

1 small onion, sliced thinly

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. minced fresh parsley

1 tsp. minced chopped fresh thyme

1/2 tsp. paprika

salt and pepper to season

Place all the green beans and half the onion in a pan with water, or a microwave safe bowl with a small amount of water, and cook for 10-15 minutes til tender. Drain. Melt the butter in a skillet and add the remaining onion, lemon juice, herbs and paprika. Cook for 5 minutes til the onion is soft, add the beans and stir to coat. Cook for a minute or two and serve. 6 servings.

Oven Dried Thyme Tomatoes

8 ripe tomatoes (plum variety work well)

1 tsp. kosher or sea salt

1 tsp. granulated sugar

2 tsp. chopped thyme

Remove the tomato stems, cut in half lengthwise or quarter if larger. Place cut side up on a rack that has been placed on a baking sheet. (cooling racks work well). Combine the salt, sugar and thyme. Sprinkle over the tomatoes and bake at 250 degrees for about 4 hours or until dried completely, but still pliable.

Poached Thyme Salmon


1 1/4 pounds boneless salmon, cut into 4 pieces

6 sprigs fresh thyme

fresh lemon

kosher salt

black pepper

Place fish in a large non stick skillet and cover with water. Add the thyme and squeeze in the juice from a fresh lemon. Season with the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with extra lemon slices. NOTE: A little fresh dill is nice with this too.

Mushrooms With Thyme


4 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

12 ounces mushrooms, halved, stems trimmed

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 tablespoon water

kosher salt

In a small, heavy pan combine the oil, pepper, and 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar. Heat over low. Add the mushrooms and thyme. Mix to coat the mushrooms, cover and cook for 10 minutes. During cooking you'll need to stir and add water when it starts to get dry. Watch carefully. Remove to a serving bowl when done and drizzle with the remaining oil and vinegar. Before serving garnish with the remaining thyme and season with more salt if needed.

Savory Mustard-Thyme Chicken


3 tablespoons course mustard

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon honey

2 tsp. cider or herb vinegar

4 boneless chicken thighs or breast halves

1/3 cup plain bread crumbs

1 tsp. fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp. dried

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

In bowl, combine mustard, flour, honey and vinegar; brush on chicken. On plate, combine crumbs, thyme and pepper; roll chicken in mixture to coat. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken; cook for about 6 minutes per side, turning once, until well-browned and cooked through. 4 servings.

Balsamic Pork and Peppers


2 tablespoon olive oil

1 each red and yellow bell peppers

1 onion, halved, sliced thinly

1 tsp. fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp. dried

4 boneless pork chops

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp. butter

Seed and cut pepper into 1/2 inch wide strips. In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add pepper, onion, half the salt and pepper and the thyme; saute 8-10 minutes until onions are golden and peppers tender. Transfer to platter; cover with foil. In medium skillet, heat remaining oil. Season chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Add to skillet and cook 8-10 minutes; turning halfway through cooking. Cook until just done and then place on top of pepper mixture.

Add vinegar to pork skillet and boil until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Scrape up brown bits as it cooks with wooden spoon. Add chicken broth and garlic; boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat and swirl in butter until just mixed and sauce is thick. Pour sauce over chops and peppers. 4 servings.

Marinated Chuck Steak


1 pound boneless beef chuck steak, 1 inch thick

2 tablespoons each fresh parsley

2 tablespoons wine vinegar

2 tsps. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. fresh minced thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried, crushed

1/4 cup minced onion

1 tablespoon oil

1 clove minced garlic

Combine onion, parsley, vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic and thyme. Place steak in plastic bag, add marinade and coat. Close bag securely and place in refrigerator for 6-8 hours, or overnight, turning occasionally. Remove steak; discard marinade. Place steak on grill or under broiler 3-5 inches from heat. Cook for 16-18 minutes for medium, turning once. Slice thinly and serve. Serves 4.

Buttermilk Herb Dressing and Croutons


2/3 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. each pepper and minced garlic

2 tablespoons snipped chives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme


2 slices of thick Italian bread, crusts trimmed and cubed

1 1/2 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. finely chopped thyme leaves

Dressing: In small bowl whisk all ingredients until blended. Croutons: In large skillet toast bread cubes in oil over medium high heat tossing for about 5 minutes until golden. Remove from heat and stir in thyme.

Thyme and Cheese Biscuits


2 cups flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. fresh minced thyme

1/2 tsp. minced fresh parsley

1/2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

5 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup milk

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet and set aside. Mix flour, baking powder, herbs and cheese in a large mixing bowl, using a fork. Cut in the butter. Mixture will be crumbly. Add the milk and stir until dough holds together, you may add more milk if necessary. Drop by large spoonfuls on the cookie sheet an inch apart. Bake 10-12 minutes.


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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