10 Ways to Use Up Old Spices


Image courtesy of jerry dohnal

Grow Them

If you have whole spices like anise stars, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dill or plenty of others, you can try planting them to see if they grow. Since these types of spices were seeds all along, they may germinate, though success may depend on how old those seeds are. (If you’ve had those caraway or mustard seeds in the back of the pantry for the last decade, you may be out of luck.)

With any spice, it’s important to store it properly to maintain freshness as long as possible. Storing spices in airtight, glass containers is ideal, and keeping them in the refrigerator can make them last longer as well. Whatever you do, don’t store them above the stove, explains The Spice House, because the heat will destroy the spices’ oils.

Want to put other kitchen staples to use? Read: 10 Health Remedies You Already Have in Your Kitchen

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  1. NEVER PUT HOT SPICES IN YOUR GARDEN!!! It’s awful to use chili flakes or cayenne powder to deter rabbits and squirrels because it will burn their little feet and faces! It’s extremely painful to have pepper in your eyes!

    This is an incredibly cruel thing to inflict on animals just to protect your stupid plants and I strongly urge you to remove this item from your post.

    1. But it won’t kill the animal right?

      even though if the rabbit dies, it will make a nice barbecue then you can add the old spice on it… yummy.

    2. i dont think it inflicts fatal damage to your little friends starfy. if you knew how many baby animals i eat you might cry.

      1. I said it was cruel, not fatal. And I’m aware that balding-jon-stewarts everywhere eat whatever they please, it’s not my concern. Have a nice day :)

  2. The whole beauty of spices were that they were able to survive long ocean journeys yet still retain their pungency and preservative qualities for several years if kept in a tight container. I’ve kept many of my spices for 5-10 years and mace, which Inuse only once a year for a Christmas cookie, for over 30 years with no loss of favor and scent. Spice companies want to sell you more spice so of course they will recommend a short life – waste not if the spice has reaiained it’s desirable scent and flavor.

  3. Relax, people. As someone that has done this for years, it has not harmed any animals. Old cayenne flakes near my bulbs (and no where else) and my bulbs are safe and there are still plenty of squirrels, chipmunks, opossums, garter snakes and critters around my yard. It doesn’t burn them, they just avoid it. Their sense of smell is enough to steer clear of it.

    To the authors, I appreciate this list. Very useful.

    1. Exactly! Animals are very smart, and they stay away from things they don’t eat. I plant lots of marigolds in my garden because rabbits don’t like them. The marigold smell keeps them out of the garden, and they don’t eat my vegetables.

  4. umm I am pretty sure that is a picture of a rabbit chillin next to a pepper plant so going to put out a wild guess and say chill out rabbits are smart enough to avoid pepper next thing ya know someone will cry about using salt on snails

  5. I really like the idea of using the spices with the vacuum. I wonder which ones smell the best together? Cloves and cinnamon maybe? Or will that make my dog lick the carpet ever more that he already does?

  6. I did leave a message but it erased as I signed in. I said that I noticed that bugs avoid my herbs and spices, so for over 20 years I have used old cinnamon and nutmeg under my wool oriental carpets, and have had no bug problems since I started using it. And the house smells wonderful!

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