6 Genius Ways Of Repurposing Expired Spices
Whether they are whole spices or ground herbs, spices lose their potency and flavour over time. While expired spices aren’t dangerous and probably won’t make you sick, they just won’t taste as good as they did when you first opened the packet. Most spices have a much shorter shelf life than you would expect, and Singapore’s increasing humidity and temperatures are not helping!
But don’t worry! There are plenty of ways in which you can creatively repurpose your expired spices and use them around the house instead. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Make spice sachets
Many spices, like sage, thyme, and oregano, have natural deodorising effects. Pour them into a small sachet and hang them in musty areas of your home like store rooms or bathrooms to freshen up the space.
2. Make potpourri
Likewise, if you like having potpourri in your house, heating spices can add an easy touch of extra aroma. To make your own simmering potpourri, boil a pot of water and simply add ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, or cloves, together with orange peels (or any other citrus that you prefer), and gently simmer away.
3. Keep insects away
Yes you can repel little critters with your spice cabinet rejects! For instance, did you know that cockroaches hate bay leaves? Keep bay leaves in the dark places that these little critters like to live in to keep these pests at bay, while mint is a natural ant and flea deterrent and can also be useful in warding off mice. Most bugs and insects hate the scent of certain spices, so make spice sachets using dried basil, bay leaves, dill, lavender, rosemary, garlic, or thyme, and place them in areas where you usually see bugs hanging out.
And if you’re having a problem with moths, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and whole nutmeg have natural insect-repelling properties that are perfect for keeping moths at bay!
4. Freshen up your carpet
Carpeting can start to smell a bit musty after some time, especially if you have pets. Simply sprinkle some ginger and rosemary over the carpet before vacuuming to freshen it up. Or if you prefer, mix cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, dried thyme, rosemary, or lavender with a little baking soda and add a few drops of essential oil for added scent. Sprinkle on carpets with a stainless steel shaker and let sit for a few minutes before vacuuming it up. Note: Just make sure you don’t use any herbs and spices that could stain the carpet.
5. Plant them in the garden
Did you know that you can actually grow some of those old dried spices into new plants? Coriander seeds are simply seeds from the cilantro plant; ditto for mustard seeds, fennel seeds and caraway seeds, by the way (that’s where they got their names from). Try planting some coriander seeds into a pot and see what happens next. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll have your own fresh coriander growing.
6. Use them in the garden
Spices have minerals and vitamins that can be used to help plants grow strong and healthy. Sprinkle in a blend of thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and oregano to keep your plants happy, or use turmeric to get rid of powdery mildew.
And did you know that certain spices have anti-fungal properties too? If you’ve got fungus growing on a plant, mix one teaspoon of cinnamon with two cups of water. Let the mixture sit overnight and strain through a coffee filter in the morning. Pour the liquid into a spray bottle and spritz onto leaves and roots for a natural DIY fungicide.