Fresh basil and tomatoes on homemade pizza, chopped parsley in my shrimp scampi and rosemary-chicken shish kabobs. Does saving money and using coupons mean I can’t enjoy the fresh herbs I used to purchase at the store each week? After all, there aren’t often coupons for fresh herbs.  When you are getting everything else dirt cheap, it can seem like a fortune to pick up a small pack of herbs. I have a solution for those of you who, like me, can’t live without fresh herbs in your food.

Grow Your Own

You don’t have to plant a huge garden, just the herbs you use the most. My favorites are basil, parsley, oregano and rosemary.  I always have plenty growing in the backyard.

  • Seeds or seedlings? Seed packets are definitely the most economic way to go. I purchase mine at Walgreens as filler items. They are less than $1 per pack and you will get several plants from one packet. Although seedlings do cost more to purchase, the herbs will be ready to harvest sooner.
  • Egg cartons make great starter trays for planting your seeds. Simply cut the bottom off and punch small holes in each “egg” holding section. Fill with potting soil and plant. Use the top of the egg carton as a drip pan by placing it underneath. Once plants have 2-4 leaves on them, they should be transplanted into larger containers. I like to use the bottom half of large juice bottles as pots.  It doesn’t cost me anything, since I always have old juice bottles to recycle.
  • Another great perk that goes along with growing your own herbs is that you can dry them for future use. It’s much more cost effective than buying them at the store. Once your plants go to seed or a little before, cut the stalk and let them hang to dry in a cool, dark place. I like to save the seeds from my basil plants, so I leave a tray underneath them while they hang dry to catch them when they fall. You then just plant the seeds from the previous year! How is that for cheap?
  • Plant perennial herbs such as rosemary, oregano, thyme, mint, sage, lavender or chives, and you will receive the benefits for years to come. I swear my oregano plant could survive a nuclear melt down! I have transplanted it several times over the years.  I have now moved it to a large pot and it is determined to crawl out of the pot and spread across my lawn!

Check Farmer’s Markets

If you lack a green thumb, there are other ways to save on fresh herbs, and you won’t have to lift a shovel. Try purchasing your herbs at local farmer’s markets or corner vegetable stands. Since the herbs were grown locally, they are usually cheaper and can often be purchased in larger quantities than in stores.

Use Them Up

Fresh herbs can be used in many different ways, so get creative. I love shish kabobs, but of course, I don’t want to pay for the skewers. Yes, I am really that cheap! So, I use my rosemary stalks as skewers! Shrimp and chicken can be marinated in the freshly chopped rosemary and olive oil and then grilled using your own homemade skewers. The rosemary stalks add so much flavor!

Being an extreme couponer isn’t just about the amount you saved on the bottom of your receipt, it is a way of life. It means learning and reinventing new ways to save money before you even arrive at the store parking lot. The savings start at home. Growing our own herbs has allowed me to still cook delicious meals that please even my Italian husband. So pile the fresh basil on my pizza any day! Mangia Mangia!

This has been a guest post by Kira from Citrus Springs, FL
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!

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6 thoughts on “How to Save on Fresh Herbs”

  1. SamanthaB says:

    I do this with catnip for my cat, too!  Why buy a small $4 bag of catnip when the home grown stuff is more potent and I get more bang for my buck. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can any herbs/spices be grown indoors? Or just the ones you listed?

    • 4auction says:

      you can grow quite a bit indoors but the herbs that are easiest and do the best are the ones listed: Basil, Rosemary,  Oregano, Thyme, Mint (chocolate, pineapple, lemon, etc.), Sage, Terragon (french and other varieties), Marjoram, Lavender, and Chives.

  3. Thought I’d share that you can freeze basil very easily and this really works (I did it this year).  Wash leaves and let them dry off completely.  Put in  a ziploc bag and freeze.  After they are frozen, you can quickly crunch them up (I place them on a frozen cutting board and use a rolling pin so they don’t thaw out).  Put them back in the freezer, and just take out what you need when you need it.  So much easier than drying, and retains more fresh flavor.

  4. brittany s says:

    Good post. I LOVE fresh herbs but they hardly ever go on sale and I don’t have a local farmer’s market or produce stand that sells them. I tried a basil plant but I always forget to water them. I just recently bought a house so I am going to designate a small area to grow some of my favorite fruits, veggies and herbs to save even more money. Thanks for the info! I will implement some of these ideas when I plant my garden.