Lemon Thyme vs. Thyme: What’s the difference?
Thyme and lemon thyme are two popular herbs that are often used in cooking to add flavor to a variety of dishes. Both herbs are members of the mint family and have a strong, pungent aroma, but lemon thyme has a distinct citrus flavor due to the presence of lemon oils in its leaves.
While both thyme and lemon thyme can be used in similar ways in the kitchen, the lemon variety is often preferred for dishes where a citrus flavor is desired. Both herbs are also known for their medicinal properties and have been used for centuries to treat a range of ailments.
What is Lemon Thyme?
Lemon thyme is a variety of thyme that is characterized by its lemon scent and flavor. It is a perennial herb that is native to the Mediterranean region and has been used for centuries in cooking and medicine. Lemon thyme is a small, shrubby plant that grows to be about 12 inches tall and has small, oval-shaped leaves that are green on the top and grayish-white on the bottom. The leaves of the plant contain essential oils that give it its characteristic lemon scent and flavor. Lemon thyme is often used to add flavor to dishes such as roasted chicken, fish, and vegetables, as well as to make herbal teas and infusions. It is also known for its medicinal properties and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, such as indigestion, coughs, and skin irritation.
What is Thyme?
Thyme is a perennial herb that is native to the Mediterranean region and is widely used in cooking and medicine. It is a small, low-growing plant that has tiny, fragrant leaves and small purple or white flowers. There are wide different varieties of thyme, including common thyme, lemon thyme, and caraway thyme. Thyme is known for its strong, pungent aroma and is often used to add flavor to a wide variety of dishes, such as roasted meats, vegetables, and soups. It is also used to make herbal teas and infusions and has been used medicinally for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory issues and digestive problems. Thyme is easy to grow and is often used as a decorative plant in gardens due to its attractive appearance and fragrant aroma.
Lemon Thyme vs. Thyme: What’s the difference?
Lemon thyme and thyme are both herbs that are widely used in cooking to add flavor to a variety of dishes. However, there are some key differences between the two:
- Flavor: The most obvious difference between lemon thyme and thyme is the flavor. Lemon thyme has a distinct lemon scent and flavor due to the presence of lemon oils in its leaves, while regular thyme has a more savory, pungent flavor.
- Appearance: Lemon thyme and thyme plants have a similar appearance, with small, oval-shaped leaves and small purple or white flowers. However, lemon thyme leaves are green on the top and grayish-white on the bottom, while regular thyme leaves are green on both sides.
- Culinary uses: Lemon thyme and thyme can be used in similar ways in cooking, but lemon thyme is often preferred in dishes where a citrus flavor is desired. Thyme, on the other hand, is often used in dishes where a savory flavor is desired.
- Medicinal uses: Both lemon thyme and thyme are known for their medicinal properties and have been used to treat a variety of ailments. However, lemon thyme is often used to treat respiratory issues and promote relaxation, while regular thyme is more commonly used to treat digestive problems and skin irritation.
Common uses for Lemon Thyme
There are many common uses for lemon thyme in cooking and home remedies. Some of the most popular ways to use lemon thyme include:
- Adding flavor to roasted meats: Lemon thyme is a great herb to use when roasting chicken, pork, or lamb, as its citrus flavor complements the flavor of the meat.
- Enhancing the flavor of vegetables: Lemon thyme is a great way to add flavor to vegetables such as green beans, asparagus, and tomatoes.
- Making herbal teas and infusions: Lemon thyme can be used to make soothing herbal teas and infusions that can help to calm the nerves and aid in digestion.
- Adding flavor to soups and stews: Lemon thyme is a great herb to use when making soups and stews, as it adds a refreshing burst of flavor.
- Treating respiratory issues: Lemon thyme is believed to have expectorant properties and has been used to treat respiratory issues such as coughs and bronchitis.
- Reducing stress and anxiety: Lemon thyme is often used in aromatherapy to help reduce stress and anxiety and promote a sense of relaxation.
Cooking with Thyme
Thyme is a popular herb that is widely used in cooking to add flavor to a variety of dishes. Here are some tips for using thyme in cooking:
- Fresh thyme is generally preferred over dried thyme, as it has a more potent flavor. However, dried thyme can also be used in cooking if fresh thyme is not available.
- To prepare thyme for cooking, strip the leaves from the stems by running your fingers down the stem. Discard the stems and chop the leaves finely.
- Thyme pairs well with many other herbs and spices, such as rosemary, oregano, and garlic.
- Thyme is a great herb to use when roasting meats, as it adds a fragrant, savory flavor.
- Thyme is also a great herb to use when making soups, stews, and sauces, as it adds depth and flavor to these dishes.
- When using thyme in cooking, be aware that a little goes a long way, as it has a strong flavor. It is generally best to start with a small amount and add more to taste. Thyme Seeds: Where to Buy.
Thyme Seeds: Where to Buy
There are many places where you can buy thyme seeds, including online seed retailers, garden centers, and specialty herb stores. Here are a few options to consider:
- Online seed retailers: There are many online seed retailers that sell thyme seeds, including Burpee, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and Eden Brothers.
- Garden centers: Many garden centers and nurseries carry thyme seeds, either in the store or online.
- Specialty herb stores: Some specialty herb stores carry a wide selection of herb seeds, including thyme.
It is also possible to purchase thyme plants rather than seeds. These can be found at garden centers and nurseries, as well as through online plant retailers. Thyme plants are often easier to find in the spring and summer when they are in season.
How to Grow Thyme
Thyme is a popular herb that is easy to grow and is well-suited to growing in pots or in the ground. Here are some tips for growing thyme:
- Choose a location: Thyme grows best in well-draining soil in a sunny location. It can be grown in pots or in the ground.
- Plant thyme seeds or plants: Thyme can be grown from seeds, but it is often easier to start with plants, as thyme can be slow to germinate. Plant thyme seeds about 1/4 inch deep, or plant thyme plants about 12 inches apart.
- Water thyme regularly: Thyme should be watered regularly, but be careful not to overwater, as thyme does not like to be waterlogged. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.
- Fertilize thyme: Thyme does not require a lot of fertilization, but it can benefit from the addition of a balanced fertilizer once or twice during the growing season.
- Prune thyme regularly: Thyme can become woody over time, so it is important to prune it regularly to keep it looking its best. Prune thyme by cutting back the stems by about one-third.
- Harvest thyme: Thyme can be harvested as needed by snipping off the leaves with scissors. Thyme is also easy to dry for later use. Simply tie the stems together and hang the thyme in a dry, well-ventilated location until the leaves are dry and brittle. Store dried thyme in an airtight container.
To harvest thyme, start by snipping off a few of the small and woody stems with a pair of scissors. Make sure to only take what you need, as thyme is a slow-growing herb. Avoid taking too much from any one plant, as this can weaken the plant and make it less productive.
Thyme can be harvested at any time during the growing season, but it is generally best to harvest it just before the plant starts to flower. This is when the leaves are most flavorful and fragrant.
Once you have harvested the thyme, you can use it fresh in cooking, or you can dry it for later use. To dry thyme, tie the stems together and hang the thyme in a dry, well-ventilated location until the leaves are dry and brittle. Once the thyme is dry, store it in an airtight container. Dried thyme will keep for several months if stored properly.
In conclusion, lemon thyme and thyme are two popular herbs that are often used in cooking to add flavor to a variety of dishes. While both herbs are members of the mint family and have a strong, pungent aroma, lemon thyme has a distinct citrus flavor due to the presence of lemon oils in its leaves.
Both herbs are also known for their medicinal properties and have been used for centuries to treat a range of ailments. Lemon thyme is often preferred in dishes where a citrus flavor is desired, while regular thyme is more commonly used in dishes where a savory flavor is desired. While both herbs are versatile and can be used in similar ways in the kitchen, it is important to consider the flavor differences when deciding which herb to use in a particular recipe.