Thyme is the perfect addition to such a variety of dishes. It can be thrown into soups, added to stews or tossed in the oven with roasted vegetables. But just because it’s a versatile herb doesn’t mean you don’t find yourself throwing it away. So, how can you ensure you don’t waste fresh thyme?
Can You Freeze Thyme?
Yes, you can freeze thyme for up to 6 months. You can either freeze whole sprigs of thyme in a freezer bag or you can chop it up and freeze it in ice cubes.
Does Thyme Freeze Well? Yes
Can You Refreeze Thyme? No
How to Freeze Thyme
When freezing thyme, you can either freeze whole sprigs in freezer bags, or you can freeze it in ice cubes which can be popped straight into your cooking. You need to consider how you use thyme before determining how to freeze it.
If you usually chop it up finely to add to sauces and stews, then opt for the ice cube method. If, instead, you tend to toss a whole spring into a tray of roasted veggies, for example, then use the first method:
How to Freeze Thyme Sprigs
If you want to give yourself a supply of thyme from the freezer, then this is the method for you.
- Clean and Dry: First, give your thyme a good wash and dry. You don’t want to freeze them with bugs or dirt. The best way to dry the thyme is to place it between two paper towels and squeeze it between the layers. The kitchen paper will absorb a lot of the excess moisture.
- Bag Up: Now, line a ziploc bag with a kitchen towel on either side. Slide the thyme into the centre of the bag.
- Seal: Seal the plastic bag, squeezing out as much of the air as possible.
- Freeze: Place in the freezer.
If you leave it stored in a bag, remember that the sprig of thyme will be incredibly delicate. You can, of course, transfer the sprigs to a solid container once frozen to be on the safer side.
How to Freeze Thyme in Ice Cubes
When it comes to freezing thyme in ice cube trays, we highly recommend creating your own bouquet garni mix. This consists of a mix of similar woody herbs placed into one flavour packed ice cube.
Then all you need to do is drop an ice cube into a stew or soup, and you’ll instantly lift the flavour:
- Prepare Herbs: First, take a bunch of thyme, rosemary and sage. Remove the leaves from the stems of your thyme, finely dice the rosemary leaves and roll the sage leaves up and slice. Add all of these to a bowl and mix.
- Fill Ice Cube Tray: Now take an ice cube tray and give it a quick spray with some oil. If you don’t have a spray, then wipe the inside of the ice cube tray with oil using a piece of kitchen paper. Add a couple of tablespoons of your herb mix to each ice cube slot.
- Cover with Oil: Now top it up with good quality olive oil. If you’re feeling adventurous, then you could try an oil infused with garlic.
- Flash Freeze: Place the tray into the freezer and allow to freeze solid.
- Final Freeze: Remove the tray, pop the cubes out and place them in a ziploc bag. Return the bag to the freezer.
You can now grab an ice cube packed full of flavour as and when you need to give a dish that flavour boost. You can also tweak the above list of herbs, even incorporating some spices or citrus flavours.
3 Tips for Freezing Thyme
Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing thyme to have the best results:
Mix with Other Herbs
Don’t limit yourself to thyme only. You can freeze it mixed with a variety of other herbs and spices. You could create a quintessentially French mix by combining it with garlic and lemon zest. You could create an all-round stew mix by combining thyme with rosemary, bay, black pepper and sage.
Make Thyme Butter
Flavoured butters freeze really well. All you need to do is mix thyme with butter in a blender, roll into a sausage shape and then freeze wrapped in cling film. Again, you can mix it up by adding other spices and herbs to your mix.
Freeze Salsa Verde
Instead of freezing the herbs in a mix, you can make a salsa verde, pesto or chimichurri, which can then be frozen. The method is the same, portion it out into an ice cube tray, seal with some olive oil and freeze.
How Long Can You Freeze Thyme?
Thyme, like most herbs, will last for an incredibly long time in the freezer. The only drawback is that the longer you leave them in there, the greater the chance the flavour will degrade.
We would recommend using your frozen thyme within 6 months.
Fresh thyme will last anywhere from 7 to 14 days in the fridge, depending on its condition when you first put it in the fridge.
How Do You Defrost Thyme?
Fortunately, if you want to use frozen thyme in your cooking them you don’t need to defrost it.
If you’re using a frozen sprig, remove it from the freezer, strip the leaves off and then use them as you normally would or where the recipe asks for thyme leaves. As they’re so small, they’ll defrost almost instantly on impact with your dish.
Again, if you’re using the ice cube method above, just toss the ice cube into your dish, and it’ll melt in a matter of minutes.
Can You Refreeze Thyme?
Although it is likely to be safe to refreeze thyme, it’s not something we would recommend. The flavour will degrade when you refreeze thyme, so, only thaw the amount you need. Using the two methods we’ve outlined above should make this fairly easy.
This is why the ice cube method is such an effective way of freezing thyme.
Does Thyme Freeze Well?
Nothing will beat thyme that’s freshly picked from the garden – but that’s the case for most ingredients.
Freezing, however, is an incredible way to preserve thyme. If used efficiently, stored correctly and not left in the freezer for too long, then it’ll remain delicious. Generally, you can freeze fresh herbs of any sort.
If you’ve still got questions about freezing thyme or thyme in general, then these may help:
Thyme can be frozen as whole leaves, sprigs or chopped. Remove the leaves from the sprigs, chop them up and then pack them into the slots of an ice cube tray before freezing in oil or water.
Freezing dried thyme is possible… But there’s no need to. Dried thyme (and most dried herbs) will last for a good 2 to 3 years in an airtight container. There would be no benefit to freezing them.
Yes, you can freeze lemon thyme. All varieties of thyme can be frozen using the methods you would use for freezing traditional thyme, including lemon thyme.