7 Ways To Use Expired Spices

Before you chuck that jar of spice that’s been sitting in your cabinet for longer than you can remember, consider these tips. Spices that aren’t worth eating may still have some use around your house and garden.

Is it really expired?

The good news is that spices don’t spoil in such a way that will make you sick, but they can lose their flavor. Different spice sellers offer different timelines for shelf life. Spice Island gives ground spices 2 to 3 years and whole spices 3 to 4 years. However, the best way to know if the spices on your shelf are still good is by color and smell. If either has faded, it may not be worth cooking.

1. Brewed potpourri

Even if a spice doesn’t smell as strong as it once did, heat can release the last of its volatile oils, giving off a lovely aroma. Boil a pot of water on your stove and add whichever spices you want your house to smell likecardamom, cinnamon, cloves or ginger. You can also throw in some citrus peels.

2. Spicy soap

The granular texture of ground cloves and pepper can add act as a gentle exfoliator in your next batch of homemade soap.

3. Deter animals

Spicy peppers like cayenne or chili are good for keeping critters away from bulbs, just sprinkle the spice on the bulb itself or the topsoil around it. Black pepper can also be used to fight ants, which are repelled by the smell. Keep in mind that older spices may be less potent, and you may want to pepper plants lavishly.

4. Nontoxic fungicide

Cinnamon is an organic way to fight fungus, particularly on seedlings and houseplants. It’s easy to apply as spray, just mix the cinnamon with warm water.

5. Sachets

Many spices have deodorizing effects. Sage, thyme, oregano and clove are particularly powerful. You can put this power to work in any musty parts of your home by making spicy sachets.

6. Homemade ornaments

Another good-smelling option is to make some cookie-like ornaments, which use cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.

7. DIY paints

Deb of the mommy blog Learn with Play at Home came up with this kid’s activity. She used spices and water to create a paint pallet of autumn colors.

Written by Margaret Badore, TreeHugger.

image creditCC BY 2.0Flickr user geishaboy500

Photo Credit: Flickr user geishaboy500

118 comments

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe6 months ago

Thanks for the tips. I need to clean out my spice cabinet and try some of these ideas!

Melania Padilla
Melania Padillaabout a year ago

Sharing

Heather S.
Heather S.1 years ago

:)

Heather S.
Heather S.1 years ago

Never knew this...thanks for the tips!

kay jowett
Kay jowett1 years ago

Like the idea of using old ones on plants and the ant one with pepper

Julie C.
Julie C.1 years ago

Good stuff. I hate throwing stuff anyway.

Maria A.
Past Member 1 years ago

I like these suggestions. Thank you.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

thanks

Sara Sezun
Sara S.2 years ago

Thanks for these tips.

Arlene C.
Arlene C.2 years ago

article intéressant merci Kara