did you harvest or buy too much fresh thyme? me too. i have a habit of buying those little clamshells of organic herbs even though they always contain far more than i need for whatever i'm making. last week i used half in a roasted garlic and sweet potato recipe, but i didn't have anything planned for the other half. rather than composting or throwing them away, i decided to make a single herb tincture.
because of the alcohol content, tincturing is a great long-term way to preserve herbs without refrigeration. and it can be a very simple process. for a fresh thyme tincture, i gave the leftover herbs a good rinse, cut off any brown leaves or dead ends, put them in a sterilized mason jar, filled it to the top with vodka, and voila!
i like to put a piece of parchment paper between the lid and jar during the extraction process. this prevents the alcohol from corroding the metal lid which could leach into the liquid. i've found that it's a good practice to label my jars with the herb, menstruum (this is the liquid you're extracting in... sounds positively gynecological, doesn't it?), and the date.
i like to extract my herbs for 3-4 weeks, shaking every day or 2, and then strain through cheesecloth into amber bottles, with or without droppers (so specific, i know - but it helps to keep the light out, i swear).
so, i have thyme tincture in a bunch of little bottles, now what? i'm glad you asked. thyme is known for having antiseptic and antifungal properties, among other rad traits. i've added some to a witch hazel toner to help with blemishes, diluted some with water to use as mouthwash, and have mixed it into other single herb or compound tinctures for its amazing medicinal properties. but there are so many other possibilities! if you were so inclined, you could mix some with white vinegar and water as a surface cleaner, or even add some to a vodka cocktail for an herby twist (shout out to my genius wife Andrea for this idea which i will be trying asap).
bottom line, don't let fresh herbs go to waste (unless you like that sort of thing). find a recipe for a candle, a tincture, bath soak, essential oil, etc. or write me a nice note and maybe i'll do it for you! i've got the thyme.
Christina is a reiki practitioner, herbalist, and ordained minister living in Baltimore with 1 wife, 1 cat, and 1 day job.