20 Ways Herbs Can Save Money! Print
     Growing your own herbs is not only easy, good aromatherapy, and a bit of exercise, but you can save money by having an herb garden!  The costs of perennial herbs is small, when you consider that they last for years.  Annual herbs cost only pennies per plant from seed, and a savvy gardener can usually harvest seed from this year’s crop to plant next year!  Tender perennials may cost a bit more to purchase, but they provide a beneficial bit of green during the winter as houseplants.  Here are some easy ways to save money with your own home-grown herbs!
1.  Marinate inexpensive cuts of meat that are often tougher than expensive cuts in herb vinegars.  The vinegar tenderizes the meat, and the herbs add flavor.  Surprisingly, the meat will not taste vinegary when cooked! (Try chives, oregano, thyme, basil, savory, rosemary)
2.  Instead of buying those little packets to flavor bottled water, replace them with sprigs of herbs—no artificial color, no sugar or artificial sweetener, and no cost! (Try mints, lemon verbena, lemon balm, scented geraniums, cinnamon basil, rosemary, lemon thyme)
3.  Containers of “fresh” herbs in the grocery, or even the bottles of dried herbs are expensive when compared to homegrown.  Plus, those snipped from your garden or container plantings will not be treated with gases for “Post-harvest” shipping.  You’ll find herbs you dry and store yourself will have greater flavor than store-bought.
4.  Make your own salad dressings….fresh herbs provide great flavor when mixed with oil and vinegar, or chopped into mayonnaise or sour cream.  You can control the salt and fat, and you’ll find it MUCH less expensive than buying bottled dressings.  There are hundreds of recipes, or create your own! (Try any culinary herb!)
5.  Update “leftovers” with a sprinkle of fresh ....they will brighten the flavor and make it seem like a new dish. (The choice is amazing…try some new ethnic herbs!)
6.  Turn inexpensive wines into glorious sangrias and punches by adding fresh herbs!  
7.  Use herbs from your garden to create pretty centerpieces.  Not only will they look pretty and fresh, but after your guests leave, you can cook with them all week!
8.  Flavor canned broths or gravy with fresh herbs (try bay, sage, thyme, basils, rosemary, or savory) to enhance less costly cuts of meats or leftover potatoes
9.  Steep fresh herbs in water with a bit of unscented alcohol for two weeks.  Strain, and pour into a sprayer for linens or as an air freshener. (Try lavender, rose geranium, mints)
10.  Turn plain pound cake into impressive desserts by adding chopped fresh herbs before baking, or pouring an herbal simple syrup over the baked cake before serving. (Try chocolate mint, rose geranium, lime geranium, lime mint, lemon verbena, cinnamon basil, etc.)
11.  Make soothing bath salts by combining fresh herbs and Epsom salts, using lavender, thyme, calendula, chamomile, rose geranium, or other fragrant herb.
12.  Replace expensive cheeses with inexpensive cheese sauces by combining processed cheese with chopped fresh herbs to pour over pasta, potatoes, steamed vegetables, or toasted breads.  Try chives, garlic chives, parsley, oregano, rosemary, basils.
13.  Pick a tiny herb bouquet before leaving on the morning commute.  It will scent your drive, and leave you in a much better frame of mind to start the day.  Leave it in your car to dry, or take it into the office.  You can add it to a ho-hum lunch, or bring it home for the evening salad dressing---or bath!
14.  Add fresh herbs to canned soups to brighten the flavor, or before adding to casseroles.  A bit of fresh herb and a dash of sherry can make leftover soup seem like a new meal, too!
15.  After a rough day, steep rosemary, thyme, mints or combinations in hot water.  Place in a small tub with 1 T. Epsom salts and use as a soothing foot soak.
16.  Mix chopped herbs with cream cheese to spread on crackers, or to make inexpensive cheese sandwiches.  Try arugula, mints, anise hyssop, chives, sage, parsley, dill or savory.
17.  Combine cans of various beans (or soak dried beans overnight for even less expense!) with sautéed chopped onions and carrots.  Add fresh or dried herbs (cilantro, oregano, sage, savory, etc.) a splash of tomato juice, broth, red wine, barbeque sauce, or catsup and simmer to form a flavorful, inexpensive soup.
18.  Place handfuls of fresh herbs in a sun tea jar and allow to steep at least 4 hours, or all day.  You can add a green tea bag or two, if desired.  This herbal tea is much less expensive than canned fruit drinks or soda pop, and much, much healthier! (Not to mention, no bottles to recycle!)  
19.  Steep thyme in hot water, strain and cool.  Use as a mouthwash….thyme is antibacterial and anti-fungal.  No alcohol, no sugar, no preservatives.  Do store in the refrigerator, and don’t make more than you will use in three days.  Excess can be poured into houseplants to give them a treat.
20.  Steep thyme in whitevinegar for several days.  Use to clean counters, sinks, etc.  It’s much cheaper than all those cleaning products filled with chemicals.