Thyme is an aromatic herb that is widely used in cooking and has many health benefits.
But, how long does thyme last, and can it go bad?
The answer is yes, thyme can go bad, just like any other food item.
However, the shelf life of fresh and dried thyme varies, and it is essential to know how to store it correctly to extend its usability.
Fresh thyme can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator, while dried thyme can last up to three years when stored correctly. Thyme can go bad if it develops mold or has a rancid smell or taste, indicating spoilage. Proper storage is crucial to maintain the quality and flavor of thyme for extended periods.
What is Thyme?
Thyme is a small aromatic herb that is native to the Mediterranean and comes from the mint family.
It is typically used in recipes to add flavor and aroma to a wide range of dishes, from meat and poultry to roasted vegetables, sauces, and dressings.
Aside from its culinary uses, thyme has many health benefits. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, and manganese and has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it a popular ingredient in natural medicines.
How Long Does Fresh Thyme Last?
Fresh thyme typically has a shorter shelf life compared to dried thyme.
When buying fresh thyme, look for firm, green leaves that are not wilted or yellowing and have a strong, fresh aroma.
Fresh thyme can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator if stored correctly.
To store fresh thyme, wrap it in a damp paper towel, place it in a plastic container or bag, and store it in the refrigerator.
How Long Does Dried Thyme Last?
Dried thyme has a more extended shelf life than fresh thyme and can last up to three years if stored correctly.
When buying dried thyme, look for a package that is tightly sealed and has a vibrant green color.
To store dried thyme, place it in an airtight container and store it in a cool, dark place, away from heat and moisture.
How to Tell If Thyme Has Gone Bad?
Like any other food item, thyme can go bad.
Here are some signs to look out for to determine if your thyme has gone bad:
Thyme typically has green or gray leaves. If the leaves begin to turn brown or yellow, it is a sign that the thyme is starting to spoil.
Rancid Smell or Taste
If your thyme has a musty or rancid smell, it has gone bad.
Tasting spoilt thyme can leave a bitter aftertaste. In such cases, it is best to discard the thyme.
If mold begins to grow on your thyme, it has gone bad and should not be consumed.
Mold growth on thyme looks like small white or black spots on the leaves. If you notice mold growing on your thyme, discard it immediately.
How to Store Thyme
Correct storage of thyme is essential to maintain its quality and flavor.
Here are some tips for storing thyme:
For Fresh Thyme
Wrap fresh thyme in a damp paper towel to keep it moist, then place it in a plastic bag or container.
Store the thyme in the refrigerator, where the temperature is stable, and limit exposure to light.
For Dried Thyme
Store dried thyme in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, away from heat and moisture.
Place the container of thyme in a pantry, cabinet, or drawer for best results.
Freezing thyme is another way to extend its shelf life.
Before freezing fresh thyme, remove the leaves from the stems, chop them if preferred, and place them in an airtight container or bag. Label and date each package before placing them in the freezer.
Frozen thyme can last up to six months, but the texture and flavor may change slightly after defrosting.
Tips for Using Thyme
Thyme is a versatile herb that can be used in various dishes.
Here are some tips for using thyme:
Substitute for Fresh Thyme
If a recipe calls for fresh thyme and you only have dried thyme, substitute one teaspoon of dried thyme for one tablespoon of fresh thyme.
Use Fresh Thyme Sparingly
Although fresh thyme has a more robust flavor than dried thyme, using too much can overpower a dish and make it bitter. Use fresh thyme sparingly, especially if it’s your first time using it.
Add Thyme to Soups and Stews
Thyme is an excellent addition to soups and stews and pairs well with chicken, beef, and vegetable-based dishes.
Use Thyme in Marinades
Add thyme to marinades for meat and poultry dishes to add flavor and aroma.
Thyme is a versatile herb that has many health benefits and enhances the flavor of various dishes.
Fresh thyme can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator, while dried thyme can last up to three years when stored correctly.
Thyme can go bad if it develops mold or has a rancid smell or taste, indicating spoilage.
Proper storage is crucial to maintain the quality and flavor of thyme for extended periods.
Use thyme sparingly in dishes, and consider freezing thyme to extend its shelf life.
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.