What's the best way to process homegrown dried thyme?

I've just spent a ridiculous amount of time sifting the needle-like bits from dried thyme from my garden. Stripping the leaves off each twig, chopping everything in the food processor, all of no use. I air-dried the thyme in little bouquets, maybe it would be better to remove the leaves before drying? After years of struggle with thyme, I have two bushy thyme plants this year, and I was looking forward to jars full of crumbled organic thyme. Tonight most of it will end up in the compost bin. I have dried lots of other herbs, none was so tedious. Any tricks or suggestions? Thanks!

Nadia Hassani


Bertha R. August 18, 2021
I live in Florida. I place my fresh Thyme in a paper bag fold the top down a bit and seal with clips. The heat of the sun dries the Thyme in a couple of day. This method works for other fresh herbs. I also dry fresh spinach spinach and kale them crumble and store in jars. The dried crushed kale and spinach make andelicious additions to soups, casseroles, bread dough, biscuit mixes, corn bread batter and waffle and pancake mixtures.
Niknud May 20, 2015
I don't usually go in for kitchen gadgets, but this herb stripper is wonderful for thyme. I haven't tried it with dried thyme sticks, usually I just use it with fresh thyme from the garden, but it's definitely handy. Oh, and it doesn't take up that much space - I just throw it in with my measuring cups. Shop around and you can probably find it for less $. http://www.gardeners.com/buy/herb-stripper-by-chef-n/8589177.html
Susan W. May 18, 2015
Old post, but it's fun when they come back alive. It is almost that time of year. Last summer, either Merrill or Amanda taught me the joy of freezing herbs. Just wash, dry and shove into a Ziploc bag. I am just now getting to the end of last year's thyme, sage and rosemary. I have learned I do not like the taste of frozen basil. Mine took on an icky flavor. I like basil, parsley and cilantro processed like a pesto much better.
Onepicture I. May 18, 2015
We dry the thyme in a food dehydrator. When dried, crush it and pick out the very large stems. The remainder we place in a large commercial (McCormick) jar and shake out the herb. The small twigs remain in the jar.
Sr. C. June 23, 2013
We grow a large amount of thyme so drying most of it is necessary. I strip the thyme fresh just to remove the large stem, spread evenly on a baking pan and dry overnight in our oven. The pilot light alone dries the thyme at the perfect temperature (about 100º). The next morning I grind finely in a spice chopper (which takes care of those tiny stems) and store in 1 cup Mason jars with a plastic storage lid over a canning lid. Keeps the pantry moths out and the flavor in, and is fairly easy. (When a huge batch comes in the stripping becomes a family bonding opportunity!)
LucindaMay August 4, 2012
We grow are Herbs every year and store them for the winter. What we do with Thyme is dry it hanging upside down, then cut it in small pieces in a colander, just crunch it, swirl it around and the small pieces fall through the holes. This is the easiest way we found to do it. Then we put it in a chopper and finely chop it.
boulangere June 27, 2011
Infused oils, compound butters, lovely ideas. As well, there is always room for recently, "fresh" dried thyme. Grow it up, use it up.
Nadia H. June 27, 2011
Cathy, thyme butter sounds good however I also use thyme often in breads so I cannot do without it dried. But for cooking I like the idea of thyme-infused oil. Do you happen to know a good recipe for thyme oil?
Cathy E. June 27, 2011
Fresh thyme is so great to use as is that the dried version pales in comparison -- why not put up your herbs in oils and fats that its flavor will permeate throughout? Here's a quick tip on making herbed butter (with fresh thyme and other herbs) that you can store in the fridge as a tasty topping for bread or for cooking with: http://lunchatsixpoint.com/2010/07/08/how-to-make-herbed-butter/
Nadia H. June 24, 2011
Thanks everyone! I think next time I will just run my fingers over the dried twigs and crumble the leaves, that's less yield but fine. I am so finicky about the small woody parts because when I was a teenager, once when I ate my mothers tomato sauce with Herbes de Provence, one of her staples, a small piece of a thyme twig got stuck in my throat. I did not hurt but it felt very uncomfortable. So after a couple of days I went to the otolaryngologist, who removed it, wondering about my mother's cooking. I was awfully embarrassed.
susan G. June 24, 2011
I had fresh thyme from the supermarket too long, and found that it had dried without any effort on my part. I took it out and kept it on a pantry shelf, and I found that the leaves fell of on their own. Passive processing!
greathill June 24, 2011
I agree with everyone here. Thyme is one of my most low maintenance herbs to harvest, just cut, dry, crumble and store. During the growing season I use it fresh and then off-season I keep a mayo-sized jar filled with dried thyme and it usually lasts me till spring. I try not to be too particular about the stems. They aren't that bad.
Sam1148 June 23, 2011
Just hang them up..let them dry.

Then use a clean sheet and take your hands to get the dried leaves off and them fall into the sheet..Collect and store.
boulangere June 23, 2011
Or as Greenstuff suggests, tie the whole bundle up in some cheesecloth and immerse in whatever you are making.
Greenstuff June 23, 2011
You've worked much harder than me! I either strip fresh thyme, not worrying too much about a few twigs, and use it immediately. Or I hang it to dry, then do pretty much the same thing--instead of stripping, it's more like I kind of crumble it, getting mostly leaves and a few twigs, of which I remove the big ones. I definitely do not feel I have to remove every twig, mostly just the woody parts. And while a fair amount may end up in the compost, I see it as overall little work and a lot of gain--I think thyme is one of the best everyday herbs. I don't see the need for a food processor--it strips or crumples into small enough pieces.

Or else--tie the whole twigs together with twine. Use them in your dish, and remove the bundle before you serve. Nothing easier than that!

boulangere June 23, 2011
I feel your pain! Try drying thyme the same one would dry rose blossoms. Cut, tie the ends together with thread, hang upside down in a relatively dark place (basement, garage) until dry. Hold bunches over a sheet of parchment. Run your fingers over them. Collect the leaves in a jar. Any sort of recycled jar will do just fine.
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