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7 Ways To Use Expired Spices

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

Read more: Crafts & Design, Green, Home, Household Hints, Lawns & Gardens, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, , , , , , , , ,

Photo Credit: Flickr user geishaboy500

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Kara, selected from TreeHugger

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, and, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.


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12:11PM PDT on Sep 13, 2014


12:10PM PDT on Sep 13, 2014

Never knew this...thanks for the tips!

12:21PM PDT on Sep 12, 2014

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

10:44AM PDT on Sep 6, 2014

Good stuff. I hate throwing stuff anyway.

5:40AM PDT on Aug 30, 2014

I like these suggestions. Thank you.

4:18AM PDT on Aug 26, 2014


3:56PM PDT on Aug 20, 2014

Thanks for these tips.

4:31AM PDT on Aug 20, 2014

article intéressant merci Kara

12:22AM PDT on Aug 20, 2014

Nice to know .

9:52PM PDT on Aug 19, 2014

thanks for the great tips

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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