How to Salvage Your Spices

Using and Reviving Old Spices bags of spices

Spices make your food taste exotic, smell delicious and can cost a lot.  I try to grow my own herbs when possible, but some just have to be purchased.  The rarer a spice, the more expensive.  That is why I hate to buy one for a recipe and not use it again for months.

There is a way to possibly save those old spices to use again in a recipe.  First, pour a little of the spice into your hand.  Press it into your palm with your fingers.  Does the spice fragrance come back?  Great you can use it.  If not, just put the amount of spice your recipe calls for into a small frying pan.  Turn the heat on low and stir the spice until it becomes fragrant (about 1-2 minutes).  Once this is done, pour the hot spices into a bowl and stir to bring in cooler air and stop it from continuing to cook.  Now it is okay to use in your recipe.

Non-Food Uses for Spices

But what do you do when the fragrance does not come back?  Don’t fret, there are other uses for spice than in food!

Home Gardening usehome vegetable garden

Keeping your garden plants free from fungi is an easy fix.  It is as easy as mixing a pinch of cinnamon with 3 cups of water.  Let it set overnight.  The next day, strain through cheese cloth directly into a spray bottle.  Spray your plants and the soil around them.

Apply after heavy rain.

Controlling Pests

Using spices to control unwanted pests in your home is the healthiest and cheapest way to do it.

Just use the old spice in areas free from children and pets.  Sprinkle heavily in the areas you are seeing ants, aphids, roaches, etc.  You will use more because the spices are old.  Clean up and repeat every month.

Clean and Deodorizespray bottle
You can mix your old spice with your regular cleaners to get a wonderful scent.
Many spices are known to have deodorizing effects and can be added to homemade cleaning solutions to give them a nice scent.

  • Dryer Sheets – Commercial sheets have chemicals that can be harmful to pets and sensitive family members. Make your own!  Add 2 drops of lemon essential oil to a small cloth and put it in the dryer with your clothes.
  • Air Freshener – Add cinnamon and orange peels to boiling water. It is a great way to freshen the stale air after a long winter.
  • Garbage Disposal – I love this quick fix. Put old mint leaves or mint extract into a blender with 1 cup baking soda and 1 Tbsp. salt.  Mix and pour down your sink.  Turn on the tap water to low stream (warm water) and turn on the garbage disposal for 15 seconds.  It will smell great!

Now you have a reason to go through your cupboards and salvage those old spices!  Let me know if you have other uses for spices too.

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