- 1 What is Thyme?
- 2 What is Oregano?
- 3 Similarities & Differences
- 4 Can You Use Oregano in Place of Thyme and Vice Versa?
- 5 Final Word
You know, we have to say we never stop thinking about all the wonders nature provides for us! Today, for example, we are thinking about herbs! Can you imagine what food would be like if we didn’t have them? We believe it would be bland at the very least if you ask us! Do you know that there are somewhere around 75-100 types of plants classified as herbs in the National Library of Medicine?
Herbs are particularly impressive plants because they have different functions. Many of us use them for cooking. However, they are widely used as natural remedies for various ailments! For example, we all know and use parsley, right? It goes marvelously with fish and seafood, vegetables, chicken, etc. But did you know that it is also famous for its immunomodulatory effects?
What other herbs come to your mind? We are pretty sure that you have heard about oregano and thyme even if you never cooked anything but a boiled egg! These two plants are among the most famous and used herbs and that we’ve decided to explore the difference between thyme vs. oregano.
What is Thyme?
In case you are not sure about it, let’s first explain what is thyme. It is a herb, which belongs to a mint family and has culinary, medicinal, and ornamental purposes. The plant originated in the southern Mediterranean. However, as it is one of the most widely used herbs, it is cultivated in all parts of the world, including North America. You can grow it both indoors and outdoors. It loves sun and heat, so if you grow it inside make sure that it has enough exposure to sunlight. You will easily recognize it because of the small leaves that grow in clusters on thin stems. Are you wondering what does thyme taste like? Fresh thyme has a potent grassy and woody flavor with floral notes. It is sharp, a bit sweet, and a bit peppery. Then, the taste may vary a bit depending on the type of thyme. For example, lemon thyme will have a citrusy aroma. But there are other varieties such as wooly thyme, creeping thyme, wild thyme, etc.
Benefits of Thyme
- Thymes shows to be effective in killing the larvae of tiger mosquitoes. This insect is a known carrier of West Nile Virus, Yellow fever, dengue fever, St. Louis encephalitis, etc.
- Protects from colon cancer. According to a study conducted in Lisbon, Portugal mastic thyme protects people from colon cancer.
What is Thyme Used for in Cooking
Thyme is generally used in savory dishes. It pairs wonderfully with all types of seafood, fish, and meat. It also goes well with fresh veggies. Thyme is an excellent addition to soups, particularly dried pea and lentil soup.
What is Oregano?
Along with basil, oregano is probably the most familiar herb. Most people know it because of popular Italian dishes like pizza, lasagna, pasta, etc. It belongs to a mint family. Same as thyme, oregano can grow everywhere. However, it originated in the Mediterranean and southwestern Eurasia. We are pretty sure that all of you know what oregano tastes like! It is a pungent and peppery herb with a bitter grassy flavor and a slight note of mint. And what does oregano look like? The leaves of oregano are dark green and small. Oregano also produces flowers that can be white, purple, or pink.
Benefits of Oregano
- Oregano is a natural antibiotic. Studies show it is effective in fighting various bacteria, among which Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Escherichia coli.
- It helps fight yeast infections. Oregano contains a compound called carvacrol that is effective against Candida
What is Oregano Used for in Cooking?
As we mentioned, and as everyone knows, oregano is most used in dishes that contain tomato sauce. The most popular are pasta ala ragu, lasagna pizza, etc. It pairs well with olive oil so you can make marinades for lamb, chicken, etc. It can be used for salad dressings as well.
Similarities & Differences
Differences Between Thyme and Oregano
|Taste||Sharp, minty with grassy and woody notes; it can differ depending on the variety||Peppery|
|Flavor||Subtle; dry||Pungent, bitterish|
|Use||Good for meat, fish, soups||Dishes with tomato sauce, dressings, marinades|
Thyme and Oregano Similarities
- They both belong to the mint family, and as such, they pair well with meat
- When you compare thyme vs. oregano you see that they both have antibacterial properties
- They are both potent antioxidants
Can You Use Oregano in Place of Thyme and Vice Versa?
In general yes. Although comparing oregano vs. thyme we notice clear differences in terms of flavor, these two herbs often substitute each other. The main reason is that both of them pair well with meats and dishes that require tomato sauce. Nonetheless, keep in mind that the flavor of thyme varies depending on the type. That means that you have to have adequate thyme if you want to substitute oregano. Only French and English variety is a good substitute. Note that they can be used as a marjoram substitute as well.
It is little to say that both of these herbs are truly magical. We know that most of you like to use them in your cooking. As we’ve seen they can substitute each other. A however better understanding of the similarities and differences between thyme vs. oregano opens up a whole new world of cooking possibilities!