A german recipe for Lentil soup calls for White Thyme, is this different from regular thyme? Some say it is actually Winter Savory. Please help!

I have a german recipe for Lentil Soup. It calls for White Thyme and I have never seen that before and could not find it for sale anywhere. Is it the same as the regular thyme that you buy in the grocery store. I did a search online but couldn't really find anything except one site that said that it was actually Winter Savory which I also had never heard of. I am hoping you can tell me what I am supposed to use.

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Greenstuff
Greenstuff January 19, 2017

Winter savory is a pretty nice herb that doesn't seem to be in fashion. I'd go with that regular thyme you have and maybe, if you like it, a little bit of rosemary.

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Nancy
Nancy January 19, 2017

Never heard of white thyme, either.
But/and oregano is botanically related to thyme, so if you like its flavor, use some of that.

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Smaug
Smaug January 19, 2017

It's true that the thymes and oreganos/marjoram are members of the family labiatae, but then so are the above mentioned savories (winter and summer), mints, rosemaries, sages, lavanders, basil etc., so I wouldn't put too much stock in that. I must say I've spent a lot of time in nurseries and looked at a zillion thyme plants, and I don't remember any white thyme- there are lighter leaved and white flowered cultivars, but I doubt that's what was meant.

QueenSashy
QueenSashy January 19, 2017

I have not heard of white thyme. But winter savory is a lovely herb. It has unique flavor -- to me it kind of tastes like a combination of marjoram, thyme and oregano. It is slightly peppery too. But since you are dealing with a lentil soup, I suspect that any of these herbs on its own would work nicely.

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Greenstuff
Greenstuff January 19, 2017

A little googling confirms that white thyme is indeed a name for winter savory. Kind of an odd name, but certainly a nice choice for lentils. When I've had it in the garden, it's been my go-to with beans. I think all the substitutions suggested so far would work, although oregano just doesn't say "German" to me. Summer savory would be another choice, of course.

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Nancy
Nancy January 19, 2017

Good point about oregano not saying "German." (I was thinking more about flavor.)

Eddelweiss
Eddelweiss January 19, 2017

Thank you so much everyone, for your help. This was my first question that I have posted on Food52, just found the site and I am so grateful for your help! I think I am going to try to track down the winter savory because it sounds just different enough that it might be the flavor that was meant. I had no idea that so many spices were in the same flavor family!

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Smaug
Smaug January 20, 2017

Good luck with your dish. Our food crops can be surprisingly circumscribed; for instance, the carrot family (umbelliferae) also includes parsnips, celery, parsley, chervil, coriander, cumin, asafoetida and others. The rose family (rosaceae) includes apples, pears, crabapples, the stone fruits, most berries-strawberries, raspberries, blackberries etc. Most of the rest of the berries (blueberries, huckleberries, cranberries etc.) are from the rhododendron family (Ericaceae). It's some time since I learned all this stuff, and I think a couple of the official family names have changed- taxonomists never rest in their efforts to baffle the rest of us.

Smaug
Smaug January 20, 2017

Good luck with your dish. Our food crops can be surprisingly circumscribed; for instance, the carrot family (umbelliferae) also includes parsnips, celery, parsley, chervil, coriander, cumin, asafoetida and others. The rose family (rosaceae) includes apples, pears, crabapples, the stone fruits, most berries-strawberries, raspberries, blackberries etc. Most of the rest of the berries (blueberries, huckleberries, cranberries etc.) are from the rhododendron family (Ericaceae). It's some time since I learned all this stuff, and I think a couple of the official family names have changed- taxonomists never rest in their efforts to baffle the rest of us.
ps these are not families based on flavors, they are based on botany, though I think chemical relationships between the important compounds do run across botanical dividing lines.

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