Herbs are the multifaceted plant of the year. They work in so many unique ways — in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in your living room…
Here are 11 exciting things to do with herbs that will up your quality of life and happiness.
1. Throw Them with Booze
First things first: let’s talk cocktails. All of our favorite drinks use herbs to take their flavor to the next level. No matter what herb harvests you have this season, use them in your drinks!
Here are 3 of our favorite summer herb cocktails.
2. Fresh Home Décor
The benefits of having green in your home are enormous, but some houseplants can be a little intimidating. To bring green flair to your home, try decorating with indoor herbs! Herbs are extremely easy to grow, contain, and keep healthy. Plus, they’re absolutely beautiful and impart focusing and calming benefits.
Put them on your kitchen counter and your windowsill, but don’t be shy. Throw one in your bedroom (it’ll help with air quality) or atop your coffee table. You’ll find the green makes a difference in how you feel about your home. Our favorite herbs for décor are sage and thyme — their unique aesthetic is an absolutely lovely addition to your space.
3. Up Your Skincare Regime
Historically, herbs contain loads of health benefits. That doesn’t exclude topical application. Believe it or not, herbs are one of the best ways to ensure healthy, glowing skin. Check out our guide to natural herbal skincare.
4. Eat Sweeter
Try your herbs in a dessert! The flavor options are endless, like thyme and strawberry — or mint and pineapple. We dare you to make this basil apricot tart and tell us it’s not a dream pairing.
Herbs bring out new flavor profiles in any ingredient, and fresh herbs add a particularly bright flavor. When it comes to sweet things, keep it simple and use a light hand. You don’t want the herb’s intenseness to overpower the sweetness.
When using herbs in desserts, it’s really important to dissipate the flavor evenly throughout—you don’t want to get a huge chunk of
5. Bake with Herbs
Up your bread game by adding your fresh herbs pre-baking.
Herbs are responsible for the most unique flavors in doughs and batters and the aromatic effect is unreal. And we’re not just talking basic artisan bread (although that’s delicious)—don’t forget about biscuits, crackers, breadsticks, sourdough, popovers, pastry puffs, pretzel rolls, dinner rolls, and pull-apart breads.
The best part is, you don’t need a recipe. Any basic bread recipe can be adapted by just adding a few tablespoons of your favorite herb or mixture of herbs. Thyme, sage, rosemary, dill, chives, and basil are particularly ideal for baked goods.
Try this feta and fresh herb bread recipe.
6. Create Arrangements
Never underestimate the power of greenery in a bouquet. Herbs are beautiful and often intricately designed plants that elevate flower arrangements (and add a divine aroma.) Thyme, basil, and lavender are among our favorites to use. Don’t forget the elegant touch rosemary brings to any table!
They’re also stunning bundled together by themselves. For a little inspiration, check out these 3 ways to create arrangements with herbs.
7. Make Herb Spreads
Three words: Homemade. Herb. Butter. If you haven’t had it, you’re missing out. It spreads amazingly on bread, veggies, potatoes, and meats of your choice. The best part? It’s really simple to make.
Simply mash butter and your home-grown herbs together with a fork. Transfer the mix to plastic wrap and shape into a cylinder. Place it in the refrigerator to chill and, when it’s solid and cold, use as you wish. If you want some ideas, check out this post for sun-dried tomato herb butter, cilantro lime herb butter, and Italian garlic herb butter recipes. However, we encourage trusting your taste buds and trying your own mixtures.
8. Sleep Easier
Many people know that herbs contain health benefits, but did you know that your indoor herb can help you sleep? We suggest placing an herb at your bedside table, extracting oil and placing it underneath your nose, or making a hot herbal tea. You’ll be able to avoid supporting ‘big pharma’ and rely instead on natural remedies to help you rest.
While many indoor herbs can help induce sleep, the best option for sleep aids is a lavender plant. Even the smell of this indoor herb can make your eyelids heavy and help you get the rest you deserve!
PRO TIP: An herb bath is our favorite way to relax and prepare for bed.
9. Infuse Everything
Specifically, infuse your oils and
In order to make herb oil, put herbs of your choice (basil, thyme, oregano, etc.) into a one-quart mason jar. Then pour 2 cups canola oil and 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil into a saucepan. Heat to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the hot oil into the mason jar with your herbs and cover with a towel. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, use cheesecloth to strain the oil.
For herb honey, you have to first dry your herbs. Do this by washing herbs and drying as much as you can by hand. Then, de-stem the leaves and place in an even layer on top of a plate. Microwave on full power for 30 seconds. Repeat until crunchy—about 3 to 4 minutes.
Then, place dried herbs into a jar and top with honey. More herbs = stronger flavor! Stir the mixture and close the lid. Allow the honey to infuse for a week or longer; place the jar in the sun and turn the jar over once a day. We highly recommend basil, thyme, peppermint, or lemon verbena. You can use your honey to top off desserts or make teas.
10. Give a Memorable Gift
For the hostess whose party you can’t miss. Everyone appreciates gifts that keep on giving, and indoor herbs are certainly that. Instead of fretting over what to get the host (or your friend or loved one), bring an Inbox of herbs to the next party and give fresh flavor and pure delight. Besides, who knows? Maybe your gift will be put to use at the next dinner or cocktail party!
11. Create All-Natural Cleaners
Lime Cilantro Soap
You can never have enough good-smelling things. Perfumes, candles, sprays, soaps…add this lime cilantro soap to your collection of aromatic items. A fresh, light green, this soap is super easy to make, smells divine, and will use up all those extra cilantro leaves.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- 16 cubes ‘melt and pour soap base’ of your choosing
- 20 drops of lime essential oil
- 3 Tbsp fresh cilantro
- Soap Mold
- Place the soap base cubes in a microwaveable bowl, and microwave on high for 30 seconds.
- Check on the soap, then microwave for another 10 seconds. Continue until melted.
- Add the drops of lime essential oil and fresh cilantro and stir.
- Pour into soap mold of your choosing, and let sit for 40 minutes to an hour before removing.
Sage All-Purpose Household Spray
Why spend all that money on Clorox wipes when you can make your own household spray using your leftover herbs? Use any herb you like, but we recommend sage. Sage’s leaves cut through the alcohol and vinegar scent. Plus, they have natural antibacterial capabilities.
What You’ll Need:
- Warm water
- White vinegar
- Isopropyl alcohol
- A drop of dish soap
- Sage (or your favorite herb)
- Place leaves—the fresher, the better—in a plastic spray bottle and muddle to release the oils.
- Mix one part warm water, 1 part vinegar, and ½ part alcohol.
- Add a drop of dish soap to the mixture and shake.