Varieties of Thyme

annewaldron(SoCal,10)August 1, 2005

I did not know there were so many! Which are the best for cooking? Are there any I should stay away from?

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I am no culinary expert, but my cousin says she loves the English Thyme for the most strength in cooking. I prefer lemon thyme because I love a twist of lemon in everything. I have heard the french thyme is great as well. (French anything in cooking usually is best--) I am in your same boat, as I am experimenting with creeping thyme, Lime and orange thyme and mother of thyme. I don't know if they are any good for cooking yet. I will be interested to see other's answer this.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 5:51PM
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Just as long as I don't inadvertently plant some kind of inedible decorative thyme and try to cook with it!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 6:04PM
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CA Kate

I'm not sure that Camphor or Woolly Thyme would be good to eat, but they're not poisonous. Other than those two I can't think of any others that you couldn't cook with.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 8:10PM
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granite(z6 NC)

I prefer the English thyme and mother-of-thyme for cooking as they have a good flavor and, when dried, strip off the stem well. Lemon thyme is also great, but I don't use a lot of lemon flavoring in cooking.

Elfin thyme is too small for cooking, woolly thyme has a funny texture and I have tons of thyme so I haven't even tried to cook with it. I agree with Westelle that the Camphor thyme wouldn't accent foods. I also don't care to cook with Orange Balsam thyme other than to use it as a barbeque brush. Orange Balsam thyme makes a small bush, and regular trimming of the branches helps it stay in shape.

Here is a link that might be useful: my gardens

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 10:32PM
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andy_sa(South Australia)

Lemon thyme is great with fish and in tomato-based dishes.
Thymus mastichina (Spanish thyme, bbq thyme) is good in casseroles where a bit of "difference"is required.
T. fragratissimus is good in beef/lamb dishes, e.g. stews, hotpots, etc.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 6:43AM
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Most thymes are good for cooking just read the label to be sure. I tried Hi Ho Silver thyme this year with no success. Died back rather quickly trying to see if I can save it now. Don't know what I did wrong! Any suggestions???

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 4:17PM
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In addition to the excellent thymes mentioned above, I also enjoy Caraway Thyme (Thymus herba-barona) and Pennsylvania Dutch Tea Thyme in the kitchen. Of course, I've yet to meet a thyme I didn't like. Rose petal thyme is a wonderful, different thyme. Check out The Thyme Garden Herb Company for a long list of thyme plants to purchase.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Thyme Garden

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 8:15AM
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granite(z6 NC)

All of the silver thymes are more finicky, it seems to me. If you're having problems, make sure that the thyme is not overly wet (turns them to dead mush) or too dry (no growth or sometimes the plant turns to all green leaves).

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 7:05PM
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I want to plant a creeping thyme between stepping stones in a place where there is not a lot of direct sunshine. Does anyone have experience in which thymes might do better than others in part shade?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 9:22PM
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granite(z6 NC)

caraway thyme does well in part does gold oregano thyme.

Alternatively, try sweet woodruff as your cover between stepping stones in partial shade.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 9:28PM
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gardenpaws_VA(z7 NoVA)

If you want a shady creeper, coing, try Mentha requenii (sp?), Corsican mint. It loves moist shade, and grows about 1/4 inch high on a good day! It also smells great when you step on a straggler branch.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 2:33PM
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PurpleRainbow(z8 NW WA)

coing, I put out some patches of elfin thyme then when my nasturtiums took over the space in my garden some of the elfin thyme was completely covered up and I forgot about that patch. When I chopped back the nasties I found the patch of elfin thyme in bloom and covering more ground. I don't know that it will or will not do well in a shaded area for the long haul but thought I should mention it to you. I've put creeping thyme between stones that get afternoon sun and it's doing well.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 12:25PM
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I should say after my fist comment on liking lemon thyme best, it is best on fish yes, because I put it in my lesagne recipe just for fun and it was a strange taste. even just one small sprig of it was strong in the italian recipe- not my fave. But everyone else seemed to think it was great and unique. (I let them think it was some new culinary recipe- little did they know I was experimenting on them)haha.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2005 at 9:34PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

Nutmeg thyme is another nice culinary variety.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2005 at 10:45PM
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Sarah621(Cali z9)

I have french thyme and its great but now I want to find some Lemon. Never though of it befor but I use a lot of lemon in my cooking. Love the stuff.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2005 at 11:40PM
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I believe that mother of thyme is literally that, the traditional one for cooking. I would suggest that you go to the nursury, check the labels to make sure they are edible, and just pinch off a leaf and taste away. Or just smell to decide if you would like to cook with it. Picking the 'best' variety doesn't take into account what is actually available so there is no reason to set yourself up for disappointment since there are lots of good ones.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2005 at 11:12AM
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the_farmers_wife(zone 5 Montana)

How does Thymus vulgaris ("common thyme") compare? Are there other names for it? I saw Lemon thyme at the nursery today, maybe I'll try that but I'd like any info on the one I'm already growing! Is it good to cook with?


    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 10:11PM
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stargazer_1118(Zone 7-Cape Cod)

I love my lemon thyme on roast chicken!!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 5:59PM
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I have just bought a lemon thyme plant from ikea, looks great, smells great. It has a small sticker which says "Not for consumption" anyone heard or know of a variety of lemon thyme you can't eat or cook with or should I just use it?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2006 at 6:33AM
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I wonder how many varieties of thyme there actually are? I've read some in this post I'd never heard of. Rose petal thyme, wow!

I have English thyme (I cook with it), lemon thyme (also cooking), and silver-edged time and golden thyme, which I haven't used in cooking, but both have wonderful fragrances. I also have red creeping thyme which is lovely right now, in bloom with it's bright kind of fuscia little flowers. The bees LOVE it. I don't think I would cook with that one. I don't know why. I just admire it in the garden. It's so pretty, and still fragrant. It's in a planter with another plant and it's just now starting to creep down the sides and is really pretty.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 12:38AM
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