5 Surprising, Clever Ways To Use Fresh Herbs

This post comes us from our new DIY contributor, Katie of Something Winnerful fame. She writes almost daily about living simply, life before babies, and what you shouldn’t ask a newly engaged woman. Go read her stuff!

ways-to-use-herbs
Hey there Yes & Yes readers! Sarah has been lovely enough to allow me to drop some DIY knowledge for y’all on her wonderful blog. I’m hoping to share some great tips/projects that go beyond monogramming and chevron – things that help make life a little bit easier.  I’m your girl for helping you DIY instead of buy, reuse instead of throw away, and update the outdated.

Of my many years of navigating being an adult, one of the biggest areas I struggle is not letting food go to waste. My kitchen is basically hospice care for fruits and veggies. After starting my own herb garden, I realized I needed to get my act together if I didn’t want all those herbs to go to waste!

Through trial and error (and a lot of Pinterest), I’ve managed to keep my herbs well-used.  Below are my favorite non-cooking ways to use to herbs!

Keep Mosquitos Away

Enjoy the outdoors without the bug bites. One way to cut down on mosquitos is plant mosquito repelling plants such as lavender, basil, or citronella. Our favorite way to use herbs outside is in our fire pit. Wrap together some lavender, sage, and mint and throw it in the fire and you have a delicious smelling fire and no mosquitos. We typically just throw in several sprigs of rosemary because I love the smell. If you’re feeling super crafty and don’t have a fire pit, you can make your own candles with the herbs in them to burn outside.

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Treat Your Dog

Store bought dog treats can have some pretty questionable ingredients in them. Whether you’re picky about what you feed your fur baby or you have a dog that’s allergic to everything, homemade dog treats are the way to go. There are many herbs that are just as good for your dog as they are for you.

If you’re lucky, your dog loves ice as much as my big guy and you can simply freeze herbs with water in an ice tray. Another easy recipe is to toss chickpeas in coconut oil, basil, and thyme then bake on a baking sheet at 245 degrees until crunchy (roughly 45 minutes). This is a treat your puppy AND you can enjoy.

herb-dog-treats

Freshen Up Your Home

Herbs are not only pleasing to the taste buds but also to the nose. The greatest thing I’ve ever done is hang a bouquet of eucalyptus to our shower head. Every shower is like a spa experience now. You don’t have to use eucalyptus though, whatever herbs you fancy would be just as fabulous.

Eucalyptus Shower

Decorate For Parties

I currently have a rosemary bush that is producing more than I could ever cook with. Coincidentally, I also have a new house that’s just waiting for a house-warming party. A quick Pinterest search will give you a million ideas for decorating your home with herbs and greenery. Using rosemary for place cards or on menus is my decor of choice. If you haven’t caught on yet, I love rosemary…and have quite a lot of it.

rosemary-place-card-wedding-ideas

Sugar Scrubs or Bath Salts

Skip the spa and create your own spa experience with sugar scrubs and bath salts. They are super simple to make and leave your skin feeling super soft and smelling super good. Here’s a great basic sugar scrub that I always keep in stock.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 sprigs finely chopped rosemary
  • Mix it all together adjusting ingredients to your liking then store in a sealed container, like a mason jar, because everything is better in a mason jar.

You can easily make a bath salt using the same ingredients above, substituting 2 cups epsom salt, 1/5 cup baking soda, and lemon essential oil for the sugar, olive oil, and lemon juice. Sugar scrubs and bath salts are also perfect for DIY gifts.

Lemon-Rosemary-Bath-Salts

Preserve Them For Later

The good news is, if you find yourself with way too many herbs, you have options if you just can’t use them before they go bad. I typically freeze them in an ice tray with EVOO or other liquid. Drying them is also another easy way to go. Here are a few more ideas for preserving them.

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How do you deal with that quickly wilting bunch of cilantro in the crisper? Tell us your ideas in the comments!

Sources: Jonas Weckschmied // 1. Mosquito repellent herbs // 2. Dog treats // 3. Herbs in shower // 4. Rosemary name cards // 5. Bath salt // 6. Hanging herbs

10 Comments

Lesley S

Love these ideas! I’ve been wanting to try making my own scrubs.
I usually have leftover softer herbs – basil, parsley, cilantro, etc…I make pesto, pistou, chimichurri, or green goddess dressing out of my leftover herbs. I also mix in leftover spinach and arugula when making pesto. You can freeze the pesto as cubes or cover with olive oil and it will last for a bit in the fridge.

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Sarah Von Bargen

Yes! I’ve always been intrigued by chimichurri – I’ve even seen recipes for chimichurri made from carrot tops!

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Katie

Thank you! Pesto is something on my list of things to make but I always put it off. I’m always short an ingredient, though I think it’s one of those things where you can somewhat wing it. Is it a terrible idea to wing it?

P.S. Sugar scrubs are definitely something you can wing, you should give it a try soon 🙂

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