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42 (and a half) uses for extra herbs

When you garden, you quickly find out that your supply of herbs can overwhelm your needs. Herbs get too woody or too pungent quickly. It is best to harvest them when they are ready, even if you are not. Often, you will still have time left in the season to plant a second or third crop in their place. Of course, harvesting all of those herbs at once means you need some ideas about what to do with them. Leave your ideas in the comment section!

Sell them (or just offer them for free)

1. Farm stand

Eat them

2. Herb salad
3. Ice cream (mint or sweet basil)
4. Herbed butters
5. Throw them over anything you’re baking
6. Mix chopped herbs with ground meat for burgers
7. Salad dressing
8. Herb soups
9. Herb-infused oils
10. Herb-rolled frittata
11. Herbed cheeses
12. Herbed spreads
13. Chicken rubs
14. Pickling brine
15. Pesto blend
16. Pasta sauce
17. Salsas
18. Stir-fries
19. Marinades
20. Herbed breads

Drink them

21. Flavor homebrew beer or wine
22. Fancy cocktails
23. Whiskey on ice with herbs
24. Vodka infusions
25. Brew teas – fresh or dried

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Prep them

26. Hang them to dry
27. Freeze them in plastic bags
28. Freeze them into ice cubes
29. Keep parsley and cilantro fresh longer in the fridge with a paper towel
30. Keep basil fresh longer by coating it in olive oil
31. Grind them up to make a dry powder


32. Garnish your other dishes
33. Flower arrangements
34. Table setting accents
35. Decorate gifts
36. Add pressed herbs to cards
37. Make shadow box displays

Handcrafted skincare

38. Make a gentle, exfoliating face scrub
39. Add them to homemade soaps
40. Herb-infused tinctures

When even the best intensions fail

41. Compost them
42. Let them go to seed – who says you have to pick your extra herbs? Let a few plants go to seed. THEN, you actually should make a decision.

42 1/2.  Choice #1: let them over-winter. Choosing option 1 means you will likely have a hundred baby plants to incorporate or weed next year. In the case of my parsley plant, I was happy to give its descendants one-third of this bed. Perfect!  In the case of my chives, I knew I should have picked every one of those mesmerizing white flowers last year, but instead, we have a blanket of pointy seedlings to pluck.

Choice #2: separate and save the seeds. For most herbs, you can hang the old, brown stalks upside down in a brown paper bag until they are very dry. Then you can shake them until the seeds collect in the bag. They must be stored dry in jars with lids or little baggies. Do yourself a favor and label them well. You can share extra seeds with your friends or coworkers. You can even offer them for sale at your farm stand.

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Have another idea on how to use extra herbs? Please leave a comment below.

borage napkin

Tired of the obvious? Check out some forgotten herbs.

Want to see some of the best other farm stands have to offer? View top choices at farmstand5.