Thyme (thyme) is an aromatic herb that is popular in many countries of the world as a medicine and spicy seasoning for a variety of dishes. Thyme sprigs give the food a unique bright taste, as well as improve digestion. Thyme is a strong immunostimulant, tea from this fragrant plant has a peculiar smell and taste, relieves fatigue, and increases the vital activity of the body as a whole.
Methods for storing fresh thyme
If thyme is used within a week, it is necessary to select the amount of plant that will be needed to prepare a particular dish. Place the remaining thyme in the refrigerator. You do not need to wash it before storage. Wrap the remains of the thyme in a hermetically sealed plastic bag without pinching it so as not to damage the delicate twigs. Instead of a package, you can use a paper towel, it will not allow volatile oils to disappear. Do not forget to sign the contents of the package and indicate the date.
If thyme is planned to be used in more than a week, then it should be stored as follows. First, wash the collected branches under running water without tearing leaves. Then gently dry the thyme with a paper towel. Tie the thyme with a rope to form a small bouquet. Such "bouquets" of thyme are convenient to use for cooking marinades and fried dishes.
Drying and storing dried thyme
In order to extend the shelf life of thyme branches, it is necessary to dry it, that is, evaporate excess moisture, while preserving most of the biologically active substances. You need to dry the plants correctly, avoiding direct sunlight. Dried thyme retains its aroma better than all herbs. Dried grass can be stored for no more than two years, obsolete collection is used only for baths. Dried thyme should not be crushed, as its healing properties and essential oils are better preserved.
It is recommended to store grass in dense paper bags, wooden or ceramic vessels, dark glass jars and containers made of thick cardboard. It is undesirable to use plastic packaging. If you still choose a plastic container for storing thyme, you need to make it made of high quality plastic, without a characteristic odor.
Make sure that the package with thyme must have a sticker indicating the date of collection and the name of the plant.
The storage location of the thyme is subject to several mandatory requirements. The main one concerns the humidity of the room. Thyme is best stored in a dry, dark place. It can be a niche or a dark corner of the room. It is important not to place dried thyme grass near the battery, it is much better to keep the material in a cool place. Medicinal herbs that are stored in ideal conditions can help you out even a few years after collection.
Custom storage methods
As with other herbs, other storage methods are suitable for thyme along with drying:
- canning in olive oil or vinegar.
Thyme well preserves the medicinal and nutritional properties in frozen form. Freshly picked grass is washed thoroughly and then dried between two layers of paper towels. Only then can we proceed to the further freezing procedure. There are several ways to freeze:
- thyme greens are crushed and frozen in special containers for ice. Frozen cubes are stored in containers for frozen foods. After defrosting, the grass is immediately used, as it becomes soft and watery and quickly loses its healing and spicy properties,
- fresh thyme is portioned in a pre-chilled aluminum form, frozen in a freezer and removed immediately before use.
Salting is a simple and popular way of canning. To do this, finely chopped greens are sprinkled with salt and placed in glass jars or clay containers.
Thyme leaves can also be prepared in olive oil or wine vinegar. To do this, they need to be finely chopped and passed through a meat grinder. After that, put the grass in a jar or other container and pour oil in such a way as to cover thyme with a layer 5-7 mm thick. The oil prevents mold and preserves greens for several months. It is recommended to use hermetically sealed containers. Combining several types of herbs with oil and a few cloves of garlic, you can cook a delicious and healthy aromatic paste.
Observing the simple rules of storage of this Mediterranean spice, you can effectively take care of your health and significantly improve the taste of your favorite dishes. Thyme twigs will restore vitality and arouse emotions!
When to collect thyme
This amazingly beautiful and very fragrant plant blooms from May to August. And it was at this time that it should be harvested for the winter.
The procurement process has several secrets and nuances that you should be aware of.
- Collect thyme should be in sunny, dry weather from 8 am to 5 pm,
- In order to carefully cut the branches with leaves and flowers, you should use a sharp knife or sickle,
- Thick lignified shoots that are near the ground cannot be touched, and even more so it is impossible to pull the plant along with the root,
- The ideal time to harvest thyme is June and July.
How to dry thyme
In order to properly dry this plant, you should adhere to some rules:
- Thyme cannot be dried in the sun, only in the shade and in a well-ventilated area (under a canopy or in the attic).
- Thyme cannot be dried in the dryer, since the valuable essential oils contained in this plant evaporate during this procedure.
- Most often, the plant is laid out on a clean cloth, or suspended in small bunches.
- The grass should be mixed periodically and this should be done very carefully.
- The finished, well-dried plant should be easily separated from the stem.
- After the thyme is thoroughly dried, it should be sorted out, i.e. Separate the coarse and blackened stems, and the stems that are covered with plaque.
Thyme should be stored in bags made of cotton fabric. For longer storage (but not more than 2 years), glass containers are suitable.
Now you know when to collect thyme, how to dry and store it. And what is the use of this plant and how to use it correctly at home?
The healing properties of thyme
1. Anti-inflammatory effect on the whole body.
2. Antiseptic, which helps to destroy all harmful microbes.
3. Expectorant effect, especially helps with chronic bronchitis.
4. Anesthetic, for people suffering from periodic headaches and joint pains.
5. Sedative effect, helps to normalize the nervous state and improve sleep.
6. Regenerating, for large and small wounds, bruises.
Tinctures prepared from the plant are actively used for oral administration, inhalation and in the form of wellness compresses.
Thyme helps people with hard drinking, children with severe coughing, women with periodic pain.
Medicinal baths help people with gout disease or joint rheumatism.
If a person suffers from bad breath, then it is necessary to take teas with thyme. It will improve the functioning of the stomach, freshen breath, and also help stop heartburn.
A broth of thyme is rinsed with severe pain or tied several leaves to the forehead, which helps to get rid of migraines.
Effective use of the plant for people suffering from diseases of the bladder. It is good to use plant-based essential oils for the prevention of colds.
How to cook thyme
1. To make tinctures at home, you need to pour boiling water on one small spoon of the plant, let it brew and store in a thermos. Take a teaspoon three times a day.
2. To prepare tincture for alcohol with thyme you will need: a dry plant and alcohol 70%. Grass insists on alcohol for several days. 15 drops are taken three times in del after or before meals.
3. To prepare the broth you will need one small spoon of dry grass for two glasses of boiling water. Heat everything over low heat for several minutes, let it brew and strain. Take with colds, coughs or inflammatory processes at least half a glass once a day.
4. Thyme is consumed as regular tea. To do this, the plant is brewed in a teapot and honey or sugar is added to taste directly in the mug.
5. Plant-based baths are used once a week for a general healing effect. To prepare water for the procedure you need to take 400 gr. dry thyme and pour 4 liters of boiling water. Insist for 15 minutes, then strain and add to the bath.
How and when to collect thyme
Many grow thyme on their own in their garden, but finding it in the wild is also not difficult. Shrub thickets can be found on the slopes and edges, in the steppe meadows and on the rocks. Thyme mainly prefers dry stony or sandy soils.
The collection of this plant begins from May to August. In this case, only the upper aerial part of the plant is suitable. With a knife or sharp scissors cut thin young branches with small leaves and flowers, leaving only thick shoots at a certain distance from the ground. To preserve the thickets of shrubs for the next years, you need to be careful about the roots of the plant and not cut out the entire green mass from one bush.
For culinary purposes, thyme is harvested until flowering, in May - June. Plants that have not yet given color contain the largest amount of aromatic oils, which positively affects the taste of the product.
Treatment fees are harvested during the mass flowering of shrubs. Since ancient times, it was believed that thyme has some magical properties, so it was collected on days of church holidays such as the Trinity and the Assumption of the Virgin. It was believed that it was on these days that thyme acquired unique healing properties.
Harvesting thyme should be done in dry sunny weather. The best time for this is the period from 9 to 17 hours, since the plants by this time have completely dried out from dew. Moisture can spoil not only the color of dried flower stalks, but also increase the drying time in order.
Watch the video from the Ekomesto channel - Collecting thyme or thyme, and its useful properties
Thyme sprigs are dried along with flowers and leaves. They are laid out on baking sheets or other flat containers. It is best to put a sheet of paper or a piece of thick fabric under the raw materials. The place to dry should be dark, dry and accessible to fresh air. Direct sunlight falling on the workpiece can completely deprive the product of useful substances.
To protect the raw materials from dust and insects, pallets are covered with gauze on top. This fabric is able to pass air well, preventing food from stalling.
Several times a day, the grass needs to be turned over. If there is no time for this manipulation, then thyme can be dried in limbo. To do this, form small beams and hang them in a dry and dark place.
Another way is to dry in small portions in mesh bags. Such bags also need to be hung along the walls in a dry and dark room.
The drying time in a natural way can vary from 3 to 5 days. It directly depends on weather conditions.
Watch the video from the Green Pharmacy channel - How to dry plants
In the electric dryer
Experienced herbalists do not recommend artificially accelerating the drying time of thyme using various heating devices. They justify this with the fact that the essential oils in the plant evaporate with rapid drying.
If there is no suitable place for drying in a natural way, and the grass needs emergency drying, then you can resort to using an electric dryer. An important rule that must be observed in this case is that the heating temperature of the device should not exceed 35 degrees. It is best to dry only on the upper grilles of the device, for example, on the fourth or fifth of the five available.
Drying time in an electric dryer will take approximately 6 - 8 hours.
A video from the Ezidri Master Channel tells how to dry thyme and sage
Drying thyme in the oven is strictly prohibited, since it is not possible to establish and constantly monitor the desired drying temperature, even if you have an electric oven.
How to determine readiness
The stems of a completely dried product become elastic and brittle, even with a slight impact. The leaves acquire a dark green color, make a rustling sound and are easily separated from the main stem. The flowers also darken slightly, and when squeezed, they crumble easily.
How to store dry thyme
Before storage, the foliage for tea is freed from hard stems and sieved. Then the workpiece is transferred to glass or ceramic containers with a layer of not more than 7 centimeters. Thyme can also be stored in canvas bags.
The shelf life of the dried product is 1 year. After the specified time, stocks of thyme should be updated.
How to store thyme: drying process
To create blanks, the stems, leaves and flowers of thyme are collected. They are dried on a warm summer day, spreading grass in the shade. The process should take place according to all the rules:
- Choose a convenient place to dry your thyme. Let it be a well-ventilated room.
- In advance, be puzzled by the search for a large piece of dense fabric, a tin sheet or a tray on which you lay out the raw materials.
- Lay the paper on the prepared surface, and then distribute parts of the plant along it, aligning everything with your hands.
- Cover it with gauze, otherwise small insects, dirt and dust will appear in the grass, which will be difficult to get.
- Leave the thyme there for a period of 3 to 5 days at a temperature of no more than + 35 ° C so that the essential oils do not evaporate from it.
The fact that the drying is over is evidenced by the darkened parts of the plant, which have become more rigid and easily crushed in the hands. In this case, the grass should have a healthy green tint.
How to store thyme?
After drying, thyme should not be left unattended. Immediately prepare it for further storage, so that you can use thyme blanks all year round.
- Take a sieve with large holes or manually take care of separating the stems, which are then thrown away, from leaves and flowers.
- Scatter the scattered raw materials in glass containers, pack them in linen bags, or place them in boxes of thick cardboard.
- When packing, pay attention to the fact that the layer of grass in the container should not exceed 7 cm. Now put everything in a dark, dry place.
- Store bags or boxes of thyme in rooms with good ventilation, where the sun does not pass.
Try not to lay dried thyme in plastic bags. There, in a short time he will reproach and lose his healing properties. Subject to all storage rules, thyme can be used for 1-2 years.