Pantry Spring Cleaning

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Pantry Spring Cleaning

Words: The Natural Home Issue Volume 1
Photo Credit: Johanna Love

Every time I’m cooking, I imagine bath and body recipe potential in every spice and ingredient I use. Inevitably after a large meal prep, there are scraps of ingredients left over here and there that either cannot be put back into the spice bottle or infused into another meal. It absolutely kills me to waste food, even though we religiously compost, so I try to use every scrap for other purposes before surrendering it back into the ground.

Sometimes, spices and such also need to be refreshed to taste their best, so I do spring cleaning in my pantry to replace the dregs of past seasons’ recipes. These last bits, while a little too stale to cook with (to me, even old salt tastes stale), are perfect for throwing together in recycled food jars and making simple bath salt recipes. This small effort saves me money and time by allowing me to put together bath and body gifts as I go about culinary business as usual.

You Will Need:

– Empty food jars
– Leftover salt, spices & peels
– Ribbon
– Fresh greenery

To Make:

Wash and dry small food jars. Fill them with a little salt of any kind, and line them up on a pantry shelf with their lids resting on top but not tightened; this prevents mildew from growing in the jars. Bring one out the next time you are cooking, and sweep any little extras from cooking (that are not meat or dairy) into the jar. If you have citrus peels or other thicker ingredients, dice them into tiny pieces before adding to the jar. Return the jar with the lid loosely placed, and repeat every time you cook, or finish filling it the next time you are cleaning out your pantry. The fresher ingredients that you dice and add to the jar will dehydrate quickly in the salt if you are sure to keep the lid loose. Once the ingredients seem fully dehydrated, tighten the jar lid. Fill and stash these bath salt jars as you go. The next time you need a gift in a pinch, grab one from your stash and tie on a fresh cutting from your house or garden to make the bath salts


You can use this same time-/money-saving technique to make sugar scrubs. I truly dislike the taste of old sugar that has lumped up a bit, but it’s perfectly good as a scrub! The only real difference is that you should stash the jars empty at first with the lids loosened. As soon as you add bits of sugar and drips of oil from your cookie-baking session, return the jars to your pantry with the lids tightened so the oil does not evaporate or go rancid, and so you do not attract sugar ants.

Johanna Love lives in Orange County, California, with her husband and their three sons. She is the director of photography at Stampington & Company. Find her on Instagram (@lovejohannalove) to see more of her “hippie bling,” natural living, and family antics.

For more Spring cleaning inspiration, preview The Natural Home Issue Volume 3 available March 1st!

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