What Is A Sprig Of Thyme And How To Use It

Say, do you fancy thyme? Oh what a silly thing to ask. Of course you are fond of thyme, who wouldn’t? Tiny little leaves yet pack such distinct flavour that can bring a shine to any grub.

Thorny subject, huh? Not for long! Today, we are going to help you find the answer to the question “”!

Surely you want to rush to the store and get some of this fascinating botanical being back to your kitchen and let them work their magic on your food, right?

But here is the thing. In, like, every single cookbook we come across, thyme is always measured by teaspoon, while the herb itself is sold in sprigs.

This can be quite a nuisance to some people. Many of those new to herbs seasoning actually choose to skip thyme just because they have no idea how much teaspoon is one sprig of thyme equal to.

Thorny subject, huh? Not for long! Today, we are going to help you find the answer to the question "What is a sprig of thyme"!

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What Is A Sprig of Thyme?

what is sprig of thyme

We bet you are already familiar with thyme. Even if you have not cooked any dish with this culinary herb, surely you have seen at least 1 sprig when wandering around the market.

As you know, all things have their own unit. There are liters for liquid, miles for distance, and as for these fragrant herbs, we have sprig.  are just simply little twigs with green leaves on them, simple as that.

So, let’s just skip the “is thyme edible” or “what does thyme look like” stuff as you would have known them all already.

But here is something thyme-related that might sound strange to you: sprig. “What is a sprig of thyme?” – has this question been swimming in your head ever since the article began. Let us do you a favor and give some explanation then.

As you know, all things have their own unit. There are liters for liquid, miles for distance, and as for these fragrant herbs, we have sprig. Sprigs of thyme are just simply little twigs with green leaves on them, simple as that.

How Big is a Sprig of Thyme?

You might be taken aback by this, but not even the legit cookbooks can define sprig, or rather, the exact size of a thyme sprig.

However, according to experienced chefs, a sprig of a fresh herb in general and 1 sprig of thyme, in particular, is a single stem that is about 4 to 6 inches long.

But we believe that this is not your main concern. What you want to be enlightened on is the exact amount of fresh thyme sprigs that one recipe require, right?

Do not be disappointed, but there is no way to get a clear answer to this. Nevertheless, this is not something to panic about. Just estimate the amount you see fit and toss it in your food.

Thyme sprig barely packs any strong flavor so even when you overdo, your meal’s original flavor will not be overwhelmed. 

However, for those who really want to know, once plucked, the fresh thyme leaves of one single stem will equal 1/3 teaspoon.

Fresh Thyme vs Dried Thyme

Fresh Thyme

The most commonly used part of thyme is, obviously, those green leaves with such a nice fragrance that pleases our senses by all means.

 After being picked from the plant, these herb sprigs should be refrigerated and wrapped in plastic bags. When properly stored, fresh thyme will retain its freshness and flavor for one to two weeks.

Depending on how your recipe demands, you can make good use of the whole thyme or just the fresh leaves. Of course, for leaves-only recipes, you will have to remove the thyme leaves from the stem.

But if this helps, you can skip this part when using thyme for non-liquid food. All the parts that can spice up your meal will fall off the stem right the moment temperature starts rising. 

And what to do with that very stem? Can you eat thyme stem? Well, prepare to be amazed because the answer is a big yes!

As a matter of fact, more than one cooks have pointed out that the stems are just as scrumptious as the leaves. They are a bomb of flavour, and can bring any dish to a whole new level.

Dried Thyme

What is dried thyme? Well, it is but your regular thyme. Just no longer lush green and full of life anymore. Still tastes epic though!

First, let’s find out the answer for the infamous question: “How long does dried thyme last?” Provided that you store it properly, and make sure that no air can sneak into the container, dried thyme can retain its flavor for up to 1 year. How impressive!

A fact that you might find compelling. A great deal of herbs stay most delicious in their freshest state.

But it is kinda the other way around for thyme. This distinct herb is actually at its finest and gives the most pleasant favor in the dried form. 

But that is probably not the news you are expecting, correct? No, you scrolled all the way here because you want to know in the fresh thyme vs dried showdown, which one will prevail, right?

None, actually!

Some cookbooks and recipes claim that fresh thyme leaves and dried thyme leaves are practically the same as they all share identical traits. This means you can substitute dried thyme for fresh thyme and vice versa. 

But how much dry thyme equals fresh thyme, exactly? Regarding the matter of fresh to dry thyme conversion, 1 sprig of fresh thyme equals approximately ¾ teaspoon of dried thyme is the commonly used ratio. 

Besides, on the market, you can also find powdered thyme. In most cases, 1 teaspoon of powdered thyme is equivalent to up to 4 teaspoons of fresh thyme.

Substitutes For Thyme Sprigs

Imagine yourself discovering one of the most fascinating cooking recipes on the planet. Imagine how thrilled and jubilant you can possibly be as you run from stores to stores to accumulate all the required ingredients.

Imagine yourself asking the shop owner where they put thyme branch as it is the last piece that completes the meal of your life…Only to be responded that it is no longer in stock.

Drop right from 100 to 0 in a second. 

Yeah, we get it. It sucks when you need thyme so bad and the herb is nowhere to be found no matter where you go. 

So, why not note down the following fantastic thyme sprig substitute and let them come to your aid in that desperate time?

Italian seasoning

The name speaks for itself. This thyme substitute is a mixture of culinary herbs originating in Italy.

Quite easy to make, and it only requires the familiar faces that your cooking herbs rack always present: a sprig of rosemary, a sprig of sage, a little bit of marjoram and savory, and basil sprig

The flavors of the best come together and bring out the finest traits in each other. The complex taste of this mixture holds a resemblance to thyme, so if you run out of thyme, this is probably the best fit.

Oregano

If you do not have that many herbs at hand, an oregano sprig could fairly do the trick.

Aromatic, bold distinct taste, dancing on your tongue giving your tastebuds a real treat - oregano has it all and is likely to enrich your meal’s flavour. 

However, unlike the gentle and delicate nature of thyme, oregano’s flavor can pack quite a punch and smoke the other elements of your dish once being overused.

So, remember that if you intend to try out some thyme recipes with oregano instead of thyme, follow this ration: ¾ teaspoon of oregano for 1 teaspoon of thyme.

Basil

Basil sprigs can be the next candidate on the most savory substitutes for fresh thyme sprigs list.

Now, this culinary herb is actually a relative of thyme, so you can make use of both the just-plucked and dried version of it.

Keep in mind that there is always a gap between the taste of different herbs, so if you intend to go with fresh basil, sprinkle only half the amount you would use for thyme on your food. As for dried basil, the ratio would be 2:1.

How to Use Thyme in Cooking

sprig of thyme

How to Prepare Thyme

As stated above, thyme leaves can fall out from stems during the cooking process. Thus, more often than not, chefs choose to remove the leaves from the stem,

Tips: people have no idea how to get thyme leaves of the stem and just go orthodox and pluck them one by one. If this is your way, stop! Way too time-consuming.

Just take a hold of the herb bunch in your hand, while pinching the leaves with the other. Next, twist your fingers gently, and all the fresh leaves will fall off.

If you happen to have some young and flexible sprigs, you can chop the whole thyme sprig and add all of them into the pans.

How to chop thyme - you may wonder? The leaves are just so tiny and fragile, how to cut them up with big knives without crushing them in the process?

It is actually not as difficult as you anticipate, actually. First thing first, get the leaves off just like how we instruct you to.

Then, pile the little green things into bunches and gently slice your knife through them. There, you now have some yummy chopped thyme!

There is one thing you should remember when using fresh thyme is that it should be added early when you begin cooking your food.

As the flavor of thyme is absorbed gradually into the dish, adding at the early stage will help the herb give a much stronger taste.

Cooking With Thyme 

Have you ever wondered: What flavor does thyme add? Still, exactly, Take a look at the scrumptious ways to cook with thyme below and you will get your answer.

Despite its modest size, the taste of thyme is complex enough to take you on a roller coaster with each bite.

 It can be slightly pungent at one moment, and then spicy and salty in the next second - kinda similar to clove. It can also add a minty flavour to your meal, though slightly.

So now, let’s address the question: What to use thyme spice in?

Well, thyme makes a good match for meats of every type, vegetables, casseroles, soups, stuffings, sandwiches, marination, and pate - in a world, the whole culinary world! 

The best has yet to come. Thyme can also be used in various cooking styles, for example: sautéing, stir-frying, baking, baking, etc. That's why the cooks all over the world fancy this herb with all their hearts.

Still, exactly, what is thyme used for in cooking? Take a look at the scrumptious ways to cook with thyme below and you will get your answer.

Bouquet garni

This dish is a little bit complex. Bouquet garni is roughly translated as "a bunch of herbs", something that is always present in Western cuisine.

So, how to use thyme in this? Just cut the Baro onions and peel off a thin rectangular layer. Then, use this layer to wrap thyme, parsley, and laurel into one small bunch. Finally, use a string to keep the package in place.

Western chefs use Bouquet Garni in all watery dishes such as sauce, stews, soups, etc. When cooking chicken, pork, or beef bone broth, lamb stews, or pumpkin soups, they all use Bouquet Garni.

The herbs in Bouquet Garni will give the broth an aroma that makes your stomach grumble.

Vegetables

Regarding thyme herbs cooking, there are plenty of mouth-watering ways, and hooking it with fresh-from-the-farm veggies is among the best ones. Mix thyme with tubers like potatoes and carrots.

After that, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and bake. With thyme, any bland-tasted vegetables would be much more mouth-watering.

Fish and Meat

Not only vegetables, but meat and fish of all varieties will have their flavor boosted to a greater level when paired with thyme.

Grilled chicken: Marinate chicken with salt and pepper, and then, add some garlic, thyme, as well as yellow lemon inside the chicken. You can sprinkle a little more thyme around the grill.

 Finally, place the grill in the oven and there you go! You have had a grilled chicken without complicated seasonings.

Fried fish: Season the fish with salt and put sliced lemon and thyme in the abdomen. Then dip it in a pan filled with golden oil. It is simple, fast, and delicious, isn't it?

The outside layer is crispy while the inside is not dry but soft and fragrant. Not to mention, the flavour of thyme will bring out the best in your dish.

Tips when Using Thyme

tips when using thyme in cooking

Do not eat, drink, or drop thyme essential oils in the eyes and sensitive areas. If you have been exposed to essential oils, wash your eyes with clean water, and seek medical attention immediately.

Besides, please do not apply thyme essential oil onto an open wound.

Also, when it comes to pregnant women and children under 3 years of age, consult with a physician before using thyme in cooking.

Conclusion

Thyme is a very impressive plant for culinary purposes as it is healthy and packed with nutrients that fight off disease. It may even reduce the risk of food poisoning!

The easiest way to store sprig of thyme is to make sure you keep dried thyme in a moisture-free environment. You can opt for fresh thyme if you want an even stronger punch in terms of taste and aroma!

We have informed all you need to know about thyme and some thyme recipes. Now, it's your turn to try making your own thyme dishes! Enjoy your meal!

Kevin Richard
 

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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