The Easy Little Trick Ina Garten Recommends When Using Thyme Sprigs

Thyme is an aromatic herb that is often paired with meats and other savory dishes to impart its earthy and somewhat peppery flavor. It grows on thin stems, but many recipes that call for fresh thyme only require the use of its leaves. At the same time, you'll also find recipes that specifically call for adding a fresh sprig of thyme. When that's the case, you'll want to include the entire stem to bring out the extra flavor beyond just the leaves. The stems are perfectly safe to consume, but their appearance can take away from the overall presentation of a dish, and their woody texture is generally unpleasant for both chewing and swallowing. Because of this, it is very common to discard the stems from your thyme sprigs after cooking them.

While removing the stems may sound simple enough, if a recipe calls for several of them, it can be tedious to locate and pick out each stem individually. To solve this irritating kitchen dilemma, celebrity chef Ina Garten comes to the rescue by offering the solution of tying the sprigs together before adding them to your dish. By doing so, the stems all stay in one easy-to-find place, while the leaves fall off of them during the cooking process. This way, your dish retains the maximum thyme flavor all the way through, and you'll never have to go searching for a handful of scattered stems.

It doesn't require much extra time

Tying your sprigs together is a simple, time-saving process.  Garten explains that all you need to do is bunch up however much thyme you'll be using and maneuver a piece of butcher's twine around the bunch to tie the sprigs together. Of course, you'll want to make sure that the bundle is tied tightly enough that the stems will stay put against any high heat or stirring. At the same time, you should also ensure the bundle is not so tight that the leaves cannot separate from the stem and evenly infuse the dish with their flavor.

Once you tie your bundle, you can add the thyme to your dish and continue cooking it according to your recipe's instructions. When your meal is done cooking, you can simply grab the bundle from the dish and remove all of the leftover herbs in one fell swoop. This method leaves behind all of that mouthwatering thyme flavor and protects your meal from those pesky and unpleasant stems. So the next time your recipe calls for several sprigs of thyme, remember that bundling them beforehand will save you lots of time in the long run.