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of the Month

French Thyme

December 8, 2016 Back to Picks >

French Thyme is one of my favorite thymes, along with lemon, for culinary uses. Its intense flavor, soft gray-green Mediterranean look, and very upright habit recommend it — at least in my opinion. It is among the easiest to grow here, and is certainly easy to harvest, as it offers its upward-growing stems to be clipped.

Like other thymes, French Thyme likes well-drained soil and ample sunshine. In a couple of years, French Thyme will make a great mounding sub-shrub, so plan to give it some room. In our area, all thymes should be kept pruned lightly and regularly. If we don�t do this, they develop a straggly unkempt look, with bare woody stems near the center of plant. Hard pruning often results in dieback, especially in hot weather. In addition, woody stems become brittle and are easily split by wind or visits of pets to the garden.

French Thyme leaves can be processed in oil using a blender or food processor. Use at least 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped leaves (no woody stems) in 1/2 cup of good quality oil. Store in the refrigerator, or freeze in flattened ziplock bags.