Save More of Your Green: Veggie and Herb Tips, Ideas, & Kitchen Hacks

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You’ve herb it here, first!

It’s happened to all of us. You waltzed right into that grocery store or farmer’s market and bought those leafy green veggies and fresh herbs, and you had every intention of doing something with them.

And then, life happened.

You forgot about that head of lettuce and now it’s looking pretty pitiful.

How to revive romaine 🥗

Just remove the leaves, discard any brown parts, and give them an ice water bath in your kitchen sink. After 10-20 minutes, they should pep right up!

Extend life in the freezer

Freeze herbs in butter, water, broth, or olive oil. This really is as simple as chopping the herbs and removing their stems, adding them to ice cube trays, and covering with your liquid or butter of choice. For the cubes frozen in oil or butter, these are great to pop into a skillet to grease and flavor the pan when sautéing.

Or if you prefer, you can mold the butter into a log shape and double wrap it in plastic wrap and/or parchment paper before freezing. Simply thaw when it’s ready for use! Pads of the flavorful butter go great over cooked veggies or a sizzling steak.

When you’re freezing leafy greens, blend with just enough water or olive oil, add to ice cube trays, and freeze. This method is by far my favorite, and it’s one I’ve used for many years. Once the cubes are frozen, pop them into a sealed bag or container and keep frozen for later use.

The uses for these frozen herbs and veggies are endless. I’ve used herb and veggie cubes to cool off soups, stews, and chili. They can be stirred into pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, and couscous. I’ve even blended them up into smoothies and juice. I’ve also added a layer of veggies in casseroles, stir-frys, stocks, and to make over-the-top grilled cheese sandwiches and countless other things.

For heartier leafy greens you plan to cook, like kale, spinach, collard greens, and chard, just place them in a large, resealable bag and toss them right into the freezer. I’ve experimented with freezing the leaves flat on a sheet tray first and then bagging them, which turned out to be pretty pointless.

Another option? Just cook these greens and freeze them so they’re ready to go when you are.

You can also place herbs and most leafy green veggies, stems and all, into a resealable bag, squeeze out all the air, and freeze.

Or, if you plan to use them within a couple of weeks, just store them in water like flowers in your fridge. You can also cover them loosely with the produce bag they came in or a plastic baggie.

Think outside the box for more use.

Want to really get creative with your veggies? Try making gummies! This requires a little more effort on your part, but it basically consists of making juice using your blender or juicer (like the baby greens and blueberry juice pictured above), adding gelatin powder, and allowing enough time for things to firm up in silicone molds. Check out Pinterest for tons of ideas!

Another resourceful method is pickling past prime vegetable. If you have leftover pickle juice from a jar of pickles, add the stems of the greens of veggies you’d normally throw out, and after they brine for a day or two, they’ll be ready to eat! I suggest first boiling these stems for 30-60 seconds and then plunging them in ice water to stop the cooking (aka blanching). This makes them absorb the salty pickle juice better and a little more palatable.

Greens powder is so expensive. Why fork over all that cash when it’s so easy to make your own using your oven or food dehydrator?

To dehydrate herbs and greens in your oven:
  • Set your oven to 175° – 200°.
  • Lay your leaves out on a sheet pan lined with parchment or a baking mat.
  • Prop your oven door open slightly.
  • Start checking after about 30 minutes or so until the greens feel crisp and crumble between your fingers.
    *Note that heartier greens and younger lettuces will take much longer to dehydrate.

Once the herbs or greens have completely dried, pulse a few times in your blender or food processor, and press through a fine mesh strainer. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Want some more ideas?

Make herb vinegar, olive oil, or salt by adding fresh herbs. Toss in citrus zest and your favorite spices to create a customized blend! The salt will be good to go right away, but for the best flavor, let the oil or vinegar infuse for a week or two before using.

Herb paste is a great way to extend the life of your herbs, and it’s much cheaper to make at home than buying those tubes you find in the produce department. Add a handful or two of fresh herbs to your mortar and pestle, food processor, or blender, along with a little olive oil. Pulse or mix by hand until the mixture forms a paste.

Side note: add cheese, garlic, and nuts, and you’ve got pesto! This mixture can be stored in the fridge for a couple of weeks or, yep… you guessed it, frozen for later use.

Freeze herbs with sliced fruit in water to cool down and add flavor to beverages.

Freeze rosemary, sliced citrus, and white vinegar to use as garbage disposal refreshers.

Make an herbal tea by steeping fresh herbs like mint or oregano in hot water with lemon and ginger. Then, freeze in ice cube trays or resealable baggies so when a cold or stomachache sneaks up on you, all you have to do is pop into a mug and reheat. You can also add honey and freeze in Popsicle molds or blend into a slushie to soothe sore throats.

Add fresh herbs with or without fruit to vodka, gin, tequila, rum, or whiskey. Let sit in a cool spot until it reaches the level of potency you’re looking for.

Infused sugar is as easy to make as adding fresh herbs to sugar. Just give the mixture a little shake whenever you walk by for a week or two – that’s it. Mint, lavender, lemon balm, thyme, and rosemary are perfect for this. I made lavender vanilla sugar and lemon thyme sugar a few years back to use in shortbread cookies, and they were a HUGE hit.

Make an infused simple syrup by simmering equal parts water and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, add herbs, and let steep until cool. You can then remove the herbs, or leave them in. Be sure to toss them if they turn brown.

Make a body scrub by combining salt or sugar, coconut, avocado or olive oil, herbs, and your favorite essential oils.

And yes, while you can usually regrow herbs and vegetables right in your own kitchen, that hasn’t worked so well for me thanks to this furry lady who can’t seem to keep her paws off of them.

veggie herb tips ideas hacks

So, there ya go! Giving new life to herbs and veggies is no big dill. 😏Just a few simple ways to make your hard-earned green go a little further.

About the writer:

Cassandra is our Senior Content Manager with over 10 years' experience. She spent the majority of her professional career in Human Resources before starting her blogging journey in 2012.

Join The Discussion

Comments 16

  1. Tammy

    These are great tips Lina! I’m looking forward to trying a few of these especially in the fall when I have a glut of different herbs from growing them. Always trying to find new ways to use them up. I sympathize with your fur baby problem…can’t grow indoors either.

    • Cassandra (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      You’re so welcome, Tammy. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. The fur baby problem is real. I can’t leave anything out or that cat up there will be all over it. LOL.

  2. countrygal

    Thanks so much for all the ideas. This is great. I have to grow my herbs and start my vegetable plants in room where the kitties aren’t allowed. Believe me, its only one room, lol. Sometimes I think the house belongs to the kitties, lol.
    Here’s an idea, use a macrame plant hanger, hang the pot that the herbs are growing in. I make the plant hangers and they work nice. Kitties and little kids can’t get to the plants.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re so welcome! Thanks for the helpful idea!

  3. MrsGarfield

    I want to add something: You can also dry the herbs by spreading them out on a newspaper or something similar and let them air dry. You might want to flip them once if it’s something with bigger leaves (basil, etc). Once dry you can either pluck the leaves if bigger or if smaller leaves just use your fingers – grab the bottom end with one hand and run 2-3 fingers up the stem to remove it. Hope this makes sense ๐Ÿ˜‰ After you’ve cleaned them you can just use your fingers to kind of smash them together. This way it is easier to control how big the flakes are and it’s easy.

    • Cassandra (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Great idea, MrsGarfield!

  4. babymair

    Thx,Lina.This post was so helpful.!! I’m always at a loss as to what to do with my herbs. Now I have a bunch of options. And also ,always afraid with my rescued fur babies .Keep up the good work and God bless

    • Cassandra (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      You’re so welcome, babymair. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. That furry ground dweller in the pics is a rescue too and she tries to get into everything. Oddly enough, her biggest vice is cheesy popcorn which is just about the weirdest thing ever. We can’t leave it out around her.

  5. Maggie

    I’ve made frozen cubes with fresh basil and olive oil for my favorite quick pasta/pizza sauce.
    The recipe is a large can of crushed tomatoes (28 oz, i think), 2 tbs olive oil, 1/8 cup fresh basil, 1 tsp garlic and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Just mix and simmer a bit. I use a couple of frozen cubes in place of the oil and basil and it works great .

    • Cami

      Yum!! That sound good!! Is the garlic you use garlic powder or mince garlic? Also, for the pizza do you put anything else such as another sauce as a base or any cheese or anything on top? Thanks in advance Iโ€™m excited to try!

      • Maggie

        I use minced garlic from a jar (gasp!). ๐Ÿ™‚ We like this sauce straight up on our pizza ~ homemade crust, sauce, veggies and meat and then cheese. I also love some extra parmesan or even a bit of cheddar cheese on top of the mozzarella.
        My other favorite use for this sauce is easy chicken parm. I get the thin sliced chicken breast at the store and dip in beaten egg, then a mixture of half parmesan cheese and half italian bread crumbs. Bake on greased cookie sheet for about 20 minutes at 375 until the tops are brown. Ladle a bit of sauce on top and serve with any kind of pasta . We love a side of oven roasted zucchini too.

  6. Amy

    Love this! Thanks!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re welcome, Amy! SO glad you enjoyed the tips!

  7. patricia

    You can also freeze the washed,chopped herbs,they taste like fresh.

    • Cassandra (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Absolutely. Great idea!

  8. Bunny

    Thanks for the great tips! Whenever I purchase the one pound box of salad greens from Aldi, I immediately open the container, place a paper towel on top then turn the box completely upside down before placing in the fridge. Makes the greens last longer so they don’t go bad before we use it up.

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