Herbs are known for their fresh green edible stems and leaves and we rarely note that they are also flowering plants! So, when your thyme plant flowers, you’ll want to know “are thyme flowers edible?”
Yes, thyme flowers are edible! They make for quite a unique flavor to any dish they are added to. You can harvest thyme flowers fresh or dry them and use them as per your requirement.
To find out more about thyme flowers, read on as we provide all the details you need to know.
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A Brief Look at Thyme
Thyme is a perennial herb that hails from the Mediterranean region. It thrives in sunny areas and is to some extent, rather drought-tolerant.
Thyme is a herb that has many uses both in culinary and medicinal areas. The entire plant can be used, for flavoring dishes, oils, or even making soaps. But, many underestimate its appeal and use when in full bloom!
Take a look at everything thyme flowers can offer you.
Can You Eat Thyme Flowers?
If you see thyme flowering, you may feel like it is a waste of thyme because it may not be very palatable while flowering and afterward as well. However, there is a consolation prize for your thyme nearing its end and not tasting so great!
Thyme flowers are edible just like the rest of the thyme plant. There are a number of ways of using thyme flowers for culinary purposes.
What Do Thyme Flowers Look Like?
Usually, thyme flowers appear purple in most cases. But, pink and white thyme flowers are observed in other variants.
From afar the thyme flowers appear to have a frilled and combined appearance. Upon closer inspection, you will find that the flowers are actually individual and very small.
The flowers are tiny and are present in clusters. The stamen sits on the anther which projects from the flowers. The flowers appear on the tops of stems but the flower cluster itself appears to fit in at the same level as the thyme plant’s stems as well.
How Do Thyme Flowers Taste?
You would expect thyme flowers to taste just like the stems and leaves but, this is not quite the case. They offer a slightly different taste.
Thyme flowers have a citrus and mint-like taste. Also, they lack that earthy taste and feature a balsamic scent.
This differing taste can help to bring out more culinary uses for thyme flowers even ones where thyme leaves and stems are not suitable. But, it also means that you may not be able to substitute thyme flowers for thyme green parts.
When Do Thyme Flowers Bloom?
Thyme plants give an extended chance to harvest the flowers and try them as they flower for over a season! Because thyme is a perennial plant, it keeps coming back year after year and if you miss it this year you can catch it next year.
You will find your thyme flowering and in full bloom between early spring and summer. Harvesting them is simply because they are easily visible in clusters at the top of the thyme plant stems.
It’s hard to miss the thyme flowers and you shouldn’t find it too difficult to clip off the whole thyme flower clusters. The flowers may be white, pink, or purple, so you shouldn’t be alarmed as long as you know that the plant is definitely thyme.
How to Prevent Thyme From Flowering?
All plants produce flowers as it is an important step in their lifecycle. It is a show of the plant coming toward its end. Thus, it has to produce seeds to extend or rather pass on its genetic material to the next generation of plants.
But, not everyone loves thyme flowers, especially since they automatically spell the end of your thyme plant! So, is there a way to delay the inevitable? Yes, there actually is a way to prevent your thyme from flowering.
To prevent your thyme from flowering, just cut off the tips of the stems, alternatively, you can just nip them off!
NOTE- Snipping off of stem tops will not permanently prevent thyme from flowering as this is impossible!
You will want to stop your thyme plants from flowering and dispersing seeds if you don’t want them to spread and overtake your garden. Another advantage of preventing thyme from flowering is that it will make the herbs appear fuller and denser. Perhaps inducing better growth of stems and leaves.
Can you still use thyme after it flowers?
You can still use thyme after it flowers, the process of producing flowers will not alter the aroma or taste of thyme stems and leaves.
However, do note that the production of flowers comes at the end of a plant’s life cycle. Therefore, your thyme is not as fresh and lush when flowering comes about!
So, when your thyme is blooming, you are more likely to get mature thyme with leaves and somewhat woody stems. This may be okay for flavor purposes but not if you actually intend on eating the thyme stems and leaves.
If you enjoy eating thyme, you may want to harvest it well in advance before it blooms. Or even, just before the flower buds fully form.
Culinary Uses For Thyme Flowers
People finding out for the first time that thyme flowers are edible and more than just a pretty flower, may not know where and how to use them. But, no need to worry as we will brief you on all the culinary uses of thyme flowers.
Just as you would use thyme stems and leaves in a range of dishes, you can also use flowers as well. They taste exactly the same except for a few missing hints of that earthy flavor.
Use thyme flowers instead of thyme for meats, soups, salads, pizza, and pasta dishes. It is useful as a marinade or garnishes or even in making sauces.
Sweet desserts are known to tread the boundaries of dessert and something unique. In recent years dessert chefs have started using edible flowers as the finishing touch of a dessert. So, using thyme flowers is an option to make an imaginative dish.
Thyme flowers add to the appearance of a dessert as well as bring an interesting flavor to the dish itself.
The flowers may be used full on the dessert or possibly even dissected to separate a few petals to place on the top or in individual elements on the plate.
Thyme also comes into great use when making a range of beverages such as hot beverages. It can help emit a soothing taste and you can choose to make it mild or more intense.
Thyme flowers can add a unique taste and possibly even some benefits to herbal tea so keeping it as a fresh or dried addition is useful.
You’ll be glad to hear that thyme flowers are not as intense as tea leaves and they can provide a few health benefits! So switching out a few tea leaves for these flowers isn’t a bad idea during the spring or summer season when your thyme plants flower.
Most herbs feature edible stems and leaves but there is often confusion about whether the flowers are edible. Some people may even think that thyme flowers may lead to illness if eaten!
When it comes to thyme, you can rest easy knowing that the flowers are edible. Thyme flowers offer up a citrus and mint-like taste.
Unlike thyme leaf and stem bits, thyme flowers are less earthy and more balsamic in terms of scent. You can use thyme flowers everywhere else you would traditionally use thyme leaves or stems. But, also in new places like beverages and desserts!
Want to know if thyme is safe for your or a friend’s rabbit? Read Do Rabbits Eat Thyme? | Perks & Risks
Can you dry thyme flowers?
Yes, you can actually dry thyme flowers the same way you would dry thyme stems and leaves. They can easily be stored in an air-tight container and used when and however necessary. But, when not dried or stored properly it could become inedible due to mold growth.
How to make thyme produce flowers?
Flowers are usually a sign that the plant is coming toward its end. But, it can also mean that a plant is happy, growing well, and has enough nutrients to produce flowers and ultimately seeds as well. So, making conditions ideal for thyme and then providing it with the right fertilizer can help you to make them flower.
Should I remove flowers from thyme?
You can let your thyme flower if you want to reap the rewards of the flowers for culinary or craft purposes. But, if you really want the plant to live so you can use the stems and leaves, you should remove the flower buds before they mature and open. It’s up to you whether the flowers should stay or go!