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The best way to use up old spices

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Photo: Bovan Tarakan (shutter stock)

If you’re anything like me, growing up I’ve amassed a ton of spices in my kitchen, many of which I bought and used only once.and one day you look at your spice rack I notice a thick layer of dust on those bottles and wonder: do the spices go bad?The answer is qualified number.

Spices don’t really spoil, but they lose their potency over time and eventually become of little use for their original purpose (bringing flavor to an otherwise gray life). One easy way to tell if a spice is past its prime is toSoonIfEST,” That’s exactly what it sounds like. Spices should have a sharp and powerful aroma. If it smells faintly (or not at all), it’s too old.

But when your thyme and bay leaves fade and become ghosts of your former selves, do you throw them away? . It can be hard to separate fact from fiction when it comes to hacking old spices, but here are some perfectly legal uses.


The easiest way to use old spices is use old spicesSince spices don’t actually spoil, use them in your cookingIf they’re a little bland, use more than you normally would. The worst-case scenario here requires heavy hands handling table salt at dinner, so you really can’t go wrong.

An old hack is to toast the spices just before using them in a recipe. will be freed up and given a final boost just before adding to dinner.

protect from pests

Insects and rodents are often repelled by the smell of spices, so using an old spice rack to protect your garden and home really pays off. plant plants specifically to repel pestsThere are two caveats here. For one, the spices they use are old, so they’re not as hot and aren’t as effective at driving pests as fresh ones. Second, these techniques probably won’t work as well as commercial products. However! If you’re not dealing with his DEFCON-1 level infestation of pests, some spices in the rack can help deter pests.

Mixing old cayenne with dish soap and water can help keep aphids and other hungry insects away from your plants. You can also strain boiled rosemary and pour it into a spray bottle to make a mosquito repellent. The good news is that even if these techniques don’t work for you, you and your home will smell great.

clean the house

Some spices have serious cleaning properties. For example, thyme contains the essential oil thymol, fairly effective antibacterial agentThymol is used in commercial cleaning products, and you can make your own using old thyme in your spice rack. Pour boiling water over the thyme, let it soak overnight, put it in a spray bottle, and add rubbing alcohol. It makes a pretty effective surface cleaner around the house.

Another spice that helps clean even after it has become stale for other uses is tartar creamThis spice can help you Removes dirt, scratches and sticky residue Not only in the kitchen, but also in the bathtub. Mix baking soda and lemon juice into a paste and apply it to bathtub rings and other stubborn stains.

upgrade laundry

Spices smell good, so it’s not hard to imagine making simple spice sachets from old supplies and throwing them in the dryer. Want your clothes to smell like lavender? No need for fancy dryer sheets. Just put the leftovers in the sachet. You can use any spice in this way, or you can make sachets from leftover fabric.

hot wine

Mulled wine is a delightful treat on a cold night. All you need is red wine, sugar and lots of spices (You can add brandy or fruit, also if you want to be ambitious). It takes about 30 minutes to make a good spicy and alcoholic mug.And you can use different spices to create different experiences.Cinnamon and cloves are the most popular choices, but cheaper red Grab a box of and use your weekend to experiment with old spices.

deodorant spray

your house smells It’s true. You live there and are oblivious to it because you’re there with your eyes closed (and thankfully), but your guests are perfectly aware of it. All you have to do is bring a pot of water to a boil, add some spices to it, and let the steam do the rest. .

start a spice garden

Spices are old and broken and can hardly flavor food, but some have life hidden in them. After all, many spices are seeds. grow real plants From your rack of spices. Coriander, ginger, cardamom and mustard seeds are just a few of the spices that give it new life.

Mileage here varies. This is because a) these spices are often treated in ways that limit their ability to germinate and b) they are already old. Put it in and give it some TLC and it could be a fun spice garden instead. After that, you can harvest very fresh spices forever.


Finally, if you’re a crafty person, spice can be added to a variety of DIY projects to add a touch of glamor. Make your own candles or soaps? It smells good when you put old-fashioned spices in it. Spices have been used for centuries to make natural dyes, so whether it’s handmade clothes or dyeing Easter eggs, old spices can bring color. Making a few simple sachets can bring a nice scent to your clothes and the space you occupy.

The best way to use up old spices

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