Can You Freeze Thyme?
How long should you freeze thyme? Is it okay to freeze it as a whole or should you opt for other methods? There is a series of questions that everyone among you might have when freezing this spicy lemony herb.
Thyme has similar flavors to sage and rosemary. It has amazing health benefits for your skin cell regeneration and hair damage. Thyme has proven antibacterial effects and finds its use in the medical industry.
If you are using thyme solely for cooking purposes then you can use varieties like- English thyme, Winter thyme, and French thyme. You can freeze thyme in three different ways as described below.
Three Ways to Freeze Thyme
This earthy-flavored herb can be put to use in different recipes. It gives an exquisite taste to stews, soups, salads, and others. For freezing thyme, you can follow these three techniques to store it for long periods without losing its authentic flavors.
1. Freeze Thyme in Refrigerator
The simple and effective way to freeze thyme for a couple of days is to directly freeze it in the refrigerator. You aren’t freezing thyme but simply preserving it in cold temperatures. Take your thyme twigs and wash them with normal water.
Pat them dry without breaking the leaves from the twig. Now, either roll your leaves in a paper towel or toss them directly in zip-lock bags. Transfer these bags to the refrigerator and freeze them for 10 to 12 days. You can use thyme twigs between these days. Do not freeze thyme twigs for more than 12 days with this method.
2. Thyme Ice Cubes
Similar to herbs like sage and rosemary, you can freeze thyme ice cubes as well. The ice cube method is by far the best method you can opt for freezing such tender herbs for around six months. Start by cleaning your thyme twigs with water so that you can get rid of all the dirt and weeds.
Then dry the twigs using paper towels or kitchen napkins. Separate thyme leaves from the twigs and chop them into fine pieces, either manually or using a food processor. At this stage, you can chop other herbs as well. Now, take clean ice cube trays and brush them with some olive oil or butter.
Fill the ice trays with chopped and mixed herbs then cover them in oil of your choice or butter. Initially, freeze them for a minimum of 3 hours to get nicely ice cubes of thyme. Then, transfer the frozen thyme ice cubes to airtight bags and seal them tight.
Add labels for future reference and freeze these bags for six months straight. You can pick ice cubes from the bag as your recipe instructs you to.
3. Make Thyme Butter
Thyme butter is a delicious way to freeze thyme for later use. Whisk some unsalted butter in a bowl and add chopped thyme leaves to it. You can add some minced ginger and garlic to the butter at this stage.
Fold all the ingredients gently using a spatula and transfer the prepared thyme butter on a cling film. Roll the film into a cylindrical shape or freeze it in a rectangular pancake shape. Wrap the butter tightly in cling film and pop it in the freezer for final freezing.
Whenever you need your frozen thyme, you can cut a slice from this homemade thyme butter.
Can you Freeze Thyme Pesto?
Similar to thyme butter, freezing thyme pesto is probably the best decision you can make. Freezing thyme alone increases its chances for degradation and loss of texture. However, when you freeze it with some additives like oil and butter the degradation process slows down.
Prepare your thyme pesto as per your recipe or follow ours! Finely chop fresh thymes and parsley leaves, either manually or by using a food processor. Now, grind the chopped leaves with walnuts or pine nuts, crushed garlic, olive oil, and cheese (preferably parmesan). Once the ingredients are mixed and have a nice consistency, add salt and pepper as per your taste.
Now either freeze pesto ice cubes directly in greased ice cube trays or freeze the pesto sauce in small containers. Make sure the containers are airtight and clean.
Is Freezing Thyme a Good Idea?
Yes, it surely is! Do not doubt the power of thyme ice cubes as they can stay in the freezer for almost half a year without losing their taste. Of course, if you are wishing for using thyme for garnishing purposes then you will have to pick fresh ones.
But, if you are using it in the cooking process then you can directly toss your frozen thyme ice cubes into the recipe. Freezing fresh thyme leaves in the refrigerator is successful for a maximum of twelve-day intervals. After twelve days, the leaves will wilt and lose their flavor, texture, and color.
If you are opting for the ice cube method or thyme butter method then you can freeze thyme for six months effectively. Again, there’s no particular need to defrost frozen thyme cubes. You can directly toss them in your recipe without thawing them. However, if you make thyme ice cubes with water, then consider melting them with warm water and drying them with a salad spinner.
Do not refreeze thyme at any cost. Not that it has some potential health risks, but it will lose all of its texture and be nothing but mere green leaves. Therefore, use the exact number of ice cubes you think are necessary for your recipe.
Alternate Way to Store Thyme
Now, that you are aware of ways to freeze thyme for six months, here’s a method to store them fresh for over a year. Drying thyme leaves and storing them in airtight containers can extend their shelf life to over a year.
Simply wash and dry your thyme leaves. Allow them to dry for at least two weeks and then crush them into fine powder. Store this powder in a tight glass container for the best results. You can store this powder for at least a year without worrying about loss of texture and taste.
You can freeze all three varieties of thyme (English, Lemon, and French) using these methods. Thyme is an evergreen herb for different delicacies therefore, freezing it effectively can aid you in the cooking process in the longer run.