With fresh herbs, you want the leaves. But getting them off the stems can be tedious. Say hello to your new best friends: a mesh strainer and a pestle. It's the easiest way to get herbs off the stalk.
Photo by Anne Postic.
The first step is to pop your herbs in the microwave until they are dry but not brittle. Put them into the mesh strainer and hold or place it over the pot. Stir and press them with your pestle so the desired bits fall directly into the pot.
The leaves separated from the twigs easily, and I was left with larger leaves that wouldn't fit through the mesh. If I had wanted finer thyme, I would have dried them in the microwave more, and the leaves would have been easier to grind.