Jars of herbs and spices spend an average of four years in the kitchen cupboard. Here's how to use them up ...

How's your relationship with your spice rack going? If it’s more long-distance than close and loving then you’re not alone.


According to new research from the kitchen appliance company Kenwood, we’re sitting on (read: wasting) a staggering £240m-worth of unused herbs and spices in our kitchen cupboards – that’s a lot of oregano.


The average kitchen has 10 different types of herbs and spices hidden away in its cupboards, and 13% of us are holding onto them for more than four years, when the average shelf life is only around one to two years. Yikes.


The herb wastage might have something to do with UK cooks not being adventurous enough in the kitchen: the study showed that just 15% of UK home cooks have cooked with turmeric, 10% have popped mustard seeds into their curry and only 2% have tried cooking with cardamom.


More exotic herbs such as ras el hanout (a north African spice mix), star anise and marjoram won the award for the least popular jars in the national spice rack according to Kenwood's listings.


Here's what you should be doing with the top 10 most popular herbs using a few spiced-up recipes from Sainsbury's magazine:

1. Basil

Popularity: 44%
What should I do with it: add to a lasagne, frittata or cocktail (yes, cocktails)

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Via: Sainsbury's / Photo: Brett Stevens / Sainsbury's

2. Chilli

Popularity: 41%
What should I do with it: add to curries, roasted nuts, chocolate truffles or salads

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Red onion orange and pomegranate salad

Via: Sainsbury's / Photo: Martin Poole / Sainsbury's

3. Oregano

Popularity: 30%
What should I do with it: sprinkle on pizzas and in homemade tomato sauces

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Tomato sauce

Via: Homemade

4. Coriander

Popularity: 30%
What should I do with it: add to soups, salsa and soufflés

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Carrot souffle

Via: Sainsbury's / Photo: Karen Thomas / Sainsbury's

5. Ginger

Popularity: 29%
What should I do with it: use in everything from cakes and chocolate truffles to sweet roasted carrots 

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Whisky ginger truffles

Via: Sainsbury's / Photo: Dan Jones / Sainsbury's 

6. Rosemary

Popularity: 28%
What should I do with it: add to your Sunday roast or popcorn (hello barbecued bacon and rosemary popcorn)

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Via: Homemade


7. Paprika

Popularity: 22%
What should I do with it: sprinkle into Spanish-style suppers (think paella or pork fillet with piquillo peppers)

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Via: Sainsbury's / Photo: Martin Poole / Sainsbury's  


8. Parsley

Popularity: 19%
What should I do with it: pies, pasta and seafood suppers

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Via: Sainsbury's / Photo: Martin Poole / Sainsbury's 


9. Cinnamon

Popularity: 19%
What should I do with it: add a pinch to fruit compotes for breakfast, Christmas cookies or crumbles

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Via: Sainsbury's / Photo: Ria Osborne / Sainsbury's


10. Thyme

Popularity: 17%
What should I do with it: sprinkle onto slow-roast lamb, into scones or over a side dish of braised mushrooms

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Via: Sainsbury's / Photo: Brett Stevens / Sainsbury's