Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
May 22, 2011 03:09 PM

Fresh thyme?

I have a small herb garden which I regularly use in cooking. All of my English thyme is blooming now, and I don't know what to do about the small pink flowers atop almost all of the branches. Are they edible? Do they affect the taste of the herb if I leave them on. It would be quite a pain to separate the flowers from the thyme leaves, so I'm tempted to just ignore them. Is that ok?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The thyme flowers are edible and delicious. Don't throw them out! Use them in the dish.

    1. The dainty flowers make a lovely garnish. I also like to throw them into salads.

      3 Replies
      1. re: pikawicca

        Is there any problem throwing the whole stems flowers included into cooked dishes? I often tie a bunch of stems and throw them into soups.

        1. re: josephnl

          No, but the stems can be tough; tie them together so you can fish them out before serving.

          1. re: pikawicca

            I always tie them together and remove. Just was wondering if there was an issue if they were flowering.

      2. As noted above the flowers can be used.

        As long as the subject of thyme is on the table, I have been using common (English ?) Thyme growing in our yard for years in recipes. A friend told me that French Thyme was better, so I raised some from seeds, but thought the taste was more bitter than the English variety. Is this true in general, or should I try French thyme from some other seed supplier?

        1. Prune all the parts in flower and use up. For foliage herbs, flowering is not to be encouraged, as many foliage herbs get a bit more bitter upon flowering.

          1. Fascinating that Americans describe thyme by country. In England, we don't have English or French thyme but use the botanical names if we're growing it (or the English version of the Latin).

            I have three in pots. Two forms of Thymus vulgaris (common thyme) and a thymus citriodorum (lemon thyme). Flowers are perfectly fine for cooking.

            In American gardening/cooking, what is the difference between English & French thyme. Do they have differnt botanical names?

            4 Replies
            1. re: Harters

              It is my understanding that what we call English and French thyme are both Thymus vulgaris, however French thyme, which I have heard is supposed to be the true Thymus vulgaris, has a slightly curled leaf. English thyme is apparently a hybrid of this - though its botanical name is the same - and has a flatter leaf. I know we do tend to make things confusing like this :)

              1. re: Harters

                Here's some thyme info:


                I'm guessing that mostly gardeners use the latin names for ANY/MOST plants, shrubs or trees.

                1. re: c oliver

                  I have only seen German thyme
                  at two of my local Lowe's (Lowe's similar to Home Depot).

                  I bought some, but perhaps I should contain it.

                  1. re: Rella

                    I find thyme to be almost the most invasive thing I've ever planted. A container is a great idea.