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Put the sugar, water, vanilla beans, a pinch salt, and the thyme leaves in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to a simmer and cook about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool. Puree syrup in a blender until vanilla beans are thoroughly chopped into the syrup. Strain through a fine strainer into a sterilized jar. If using vanilla extract instead of beans, add extract after the sugar syrup has cooled and pour into a jar. Seal tightly.
Yield: 4 1/2 cups