Thyme is a versatile herb and can be used in so many dishes. Thyme and garlic roast potatoes are delicious, and thyme is a great addition to chicken and salmon. It can be added to soups and casseroles and adds depth of flavor to any dish.
However, perhaps you grow it and have too much to use before it dies. What do you do? The simple answer is to freeze it, and in this article, we will tell you how to freeze and defrost thyme.
How To Freeze Thyme
There are two different ways to freeze thyme. You can either freeze whole sprigs and leaves in freezer bags or airtight containers or you can chop them up and freeze them in an ice cube tray. If you want to use the thyme in a soup or stew, then it is a good idea to freeze it in an ice cube tray as then you can throw the cubes directly into your dish without defrosting. If you want to add the thyme to roast vegetables, then freeze thyme sprigs and leaves.
How To Freeze Thyme Sprigs
1. Clean the thyme sprigs and leaves.
Wash the thyme as it may have dirt and bugs on it. Then dry it. You don’t want to put wet thyme in the freezer as ice crystals may form and the thyme may end up mushy. The best way to dry thyme sprigs is by putting them in between two sheets of paper towels and squeezing.
2. Put the thyme sprigs in airtight containers or freezer bags.
Line either the bag or container with a kitchen towel and put in the thyme. If you are using a freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as possible so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. It won’t make the thyme unsafe but it will change the taste and texture. It probably won’t give as much flavor to your food. It is a good idea to put a label on the bag or container so that you know when you put it in the freezer. If you are freezing different herbs, write the name of the herb on the label as you might not be able to tell what it is when it is frozen.
3. Put the bag or container in the freezer.
How To Freeze Thyme In An Ice Cube Tray
You don’t have to just freeze the thyme in the ice cube tray. If you are using other herbs in the dish, freeze them together with the thyme. Then all you have to do is drop a couple of cubes in your dish. This is the way to freeze thyme in an ice cube tray.
1. Prepare the thyme.
The first thing to do is to remove the leaves from the thyme and then chop them. Prepare other herbs if you want to add them to the thyme. Rosemary and sage are good choices and complement the thyme. Finely chop the leaves of both and mix the herbs together. Other good choices include chili flakes if you want a spicy dish, or crush up some fennel seeds and mix with oregano. You could also put in savory or marjoram.
2. Prepare the ice cube tray.
Spray the slots with oil and then add the herbs. You will need to put in a couple of tablespoons into each slot. Cover the herbs with olive oil. Don’t fill the slots up to the top as the oil may expand. You can use flavored olive oil if you want to add extra flavor. Why not try garlic or lemon?
3. Flash freeze.
Put the ice cube tray in the freezer and freeze until the cubes are solid.
4. Put the cubes in a freezer bag.
Make sure that you squeeze all the air out of the freezer bag so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. This can change the flavor of your herbs. Put a label on the bag with the date you put it in the freezer and the herbs that are in the ice cubes.
You are now able to just take out as many cubes as you need for your dish.
Tips For Freezing Thyme
- Make sure that you squeeze all the air out of the freezer bag so that freezer burn doesn’t occur.
- Mix the thyme with other herbs. Make sure that you put a label on the bag with the herbs frozen. This is particularly important if you are freezing different mixes of herbs.
- Freeze thyme butter. Butter freezes well and there’s nothing stopping you from freezing thyme butter. It is so easy to make. Just blend the butter with the thyme, roll into a swiss roll shape, and wrap it in cling film. It’s a good idea to wrap it tightly in two layers of cling film so that freezer burn doesn’t occur.
- Make a pesto or salsa verde with thyme instead of the normal ingredients. Freeze this mixture in an ice cube tray and transfer the cubes to a freezer bag.
For How Long Can You Freeze Thyme?
The good news is that you can freeze thyme for a long time. In fact, it will last for up to six months and this goes for most herbs. Of course, the quicker you use it, the better it will be.
How Do You Defrost Thyme?
You don’t have to defrost thyme in the fridge. All you have to do is to throw the ice cubes into your dish or add the leaves if you have frozen the thyme in a freezer bag. The leaves will melt almost immediately while the ice cubes will take just a couple of minutes.
Can You Refreeze Thyme?
You can refreeze thyme but we don’t recommend it. As with most foods, if you refreeze them, the taste and texture will change and not for the better. This is why freezing thyme and other herbs in an ice cube tray is a good idea. Then you can just take out as many cubes as you need for the dish. If you freeze the leaves in a freezer bag, you will have to use them within a few days as this is as long as they will last in the fridge.
Is It a Good Idea To Freeze Thyme?
Yes, we think it is a good idea to freeze thyme. Admittedly, nothing beats fresh and this goes for most foods. However, freezing is a good way to ensure that you have thyme on hand whenever you need it and this goes for most herbs. Just follow one of the two freezing methods we have told you about.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing thyme, but if you are still curious, we have answered a few questions here.
Can you freeze any types of thyme?
Yes, you can, be it common thyme, lemon thyme, wooly thyme, or creeping thyme.
Can you freeze thyme sprigs?
Yes, you can. You can freeze the sprigs and the leaves.
Can you freeze dried thyme?
It is possible to freeze dried thyme, but there is no point. Dried thyme and most dried herbs last for up to three years if they are kept in an airtight container.
What dishes can I make with frozen thyme leaves?
Add the leaves to roast potatoes, sauteed carrots or mushrooms, pasta, salmon, and baked eggs.
What dishes can I make with frozen thyme ice cubes?
Thyme goes well in a beef stew (see also Can You Freeze Beef Stew) or a sausage and bean casserole. Add a couple of cubes to a creamy chicken and mushroom soup or a split pea soup. What’s even better is to make a mix of herbs to put in your ice cubes so that you get the mix of herbs you want without having to do extra work. This is a great idea if you work long hours and don’t want to cook from scratch when you get home.