Flavor Boosting Ways with Herbs

Flavor Boosting Ways with Herbs

Herbs help you kick up the flavor in your meals. But, how many times have you bought fresh herbs only to watch them turn brown in your fridge? Or flipped past a recipe because the spices listed were just too pricey? Here are a few tips to make herbs and spices work for your budget and your life.

1. Plan out your meals for the week.

The biggest problem with fresh herbs is waste. If you’re making a meal that calls for basil, parsley, or other herbs, plan at least one more meal that week that will use those same herbs.

2. Store fresh herbs properly.

There are a couple of ways you can store your helpers to help them last longer. (1) Wrap the stems in damp paper towels and store in a plastic bag in the produce bin of your fridge. (2) Store like fresh flowers. Cut the ends and place in a glass jar with water. Cover with a plastic bag and place in the fridge.

3. Freeze your herbs.

Still not able to use up all your fresh herbs before they go bad? Chop them up and throw them in the freezer in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, remove the cubes and place them in a freezer-safe bag. You can pull out just what you need.

4. Use dried when needed.

Dried herbs are typically cheaper than fresh – and they last longer. When using them instead of fresh, use 1/3 as much. For instance, if you need one tablespoon of fresh, use one teaspoon of dried.

5. Make your own spice mixes.

Making your own spice mixes will save you money and you’ll have them when you need them. Here’s a few ideas for homemade spice mixes.

Mix spices together in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Italian Seasoning

  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon dried thyme leaves

Jerk Seasoning

  • 1 Tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pumpkin Pie Spice

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Taco Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

6 Check ethnic food aisles or stores.

They often have much cheaper prices for the same ingredient.

7. Substitute with more commonly used herbs or spices.

Whether fresh or dried, if a recipe calls for something you don’t have on hand and probably won’t use again, use a more common item. Here are a herbs that can be interchangeable in your dish:

  • Basil: oregano or thyme
  • Bay leaf: For 1 bay leaf, substitute ¼ tsp. crushed bay leaf or ¼ tsp. thyme
  • Chives: green onion, onion, or leek
  • Cilantro: parsley
  • Dill (weed or seed): Use an equal amount of tarragon
  • Fennel: anise seed
  • Italian seasoning: basil, oregano, or rosemary
  • Marjoram: basil or thyme
  • Mint: basil, marjoram, or rosemary
  • Oregano: thyme or basil
  • Parsley: chervil or cilantro
  • Rosemary: thyme, tarragon, or savory
  • Sage: poultry seasoning, savory, marjoram, or rosemary
  • Savory: thyme, marjoram, or sage
  • Tarragon: chervil, dash fennel seed, or dash anise seed
  • Thyme: basil, marjoram, oregano, or savory

Lisa Lewis is the author of Healthy Happy Cooking. Her cooking skills have been a part of First Place for Health wellness weeks and other events for many years. She provided recipes for 15 of the First Place for nHealth Bible studies and is a contributing author in Better Together and Healthy Holiday Living. She partners with community networks, including the Real Food Project, to provide free healthy cooking classes. You can find her cookbook, Healthy Happy Cooking in the FP4H store.


  1. Great. Thanks for thr seasoning mixes!

  2. Great. Thanks for the seasoning mixes!