Saving your coffee grounds through the winter months is one of the best ways to make sure to have plenty of all-natural soil building, plant-boosting grounds on hand for next spring.
Coffee grounds are one of the most beneficial resources for powering both the soil and your plants. Not only are they teeming with trace minerals and nutrients that help plants grow better, they bring major benefits to your soil as well.
For starters, coffee grounds are incredibly adept at absorbing and retaining moisture. When mixed in with seed starting soil, potting soil, or directly into the dirt of gardens and flowerbeds, they help keep valuable moisture where its needed most, right near the roots!
But the benefits don’t stop there. Coffee grounds also help to fix nitrogen levels in the soil, allowing plants to absorb it with ease. And once in the soil, the coarse make-up of the spent grounds helps to build structure in the soil as well. (See : How To Use Coffee Grounds To Power Your Plants & Soil)
Of course, best of all, coffee grounds are free for the taking! And even if you don’t make or drink coffee in your own home, getting your hands on them isn’t difficult.
Neighbors, friends and family are great options for saving, as are neighborhood coffee shops. In fact, you might be surprised at just how many coffee shops actually have waiting lists for their grounds!
The Difficulty Of Storing Coffee Grounds In The Winter
Unfortunately, for many, saving coffee grounds can be somewhat difficult. Especially when it comes to keeping them all the way through winter for use in the spring.
Without a bit of help before storing, coffee grounds can be quick to mold. The moist grounds have a difficult time drying out. When piled in a container at room temperature, the moisture and minerals combine quickly to develop algae and mold.
Adding to the problem, those moldy grounds can develop quite a funky smell as well. For many gardeners, the hassle is simply too much, and the valuable grounds simply end up being tossed away. But here is the good news – it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, with a few simple methods, it is actually quite easy to store coffee grounds for months at a time!
2 Great Ways To Save Coffee Grounds In The Winter
Freeze Those Grounds!
By far, the best, quickest and easiest method for saving your coffee grounds without the worry of mold is by freezing them. And no, simply refrigerating them is not enough!
Unfortunately, tossing them in a refrigerator will not prevent mold. The cool, damp air in a refrigerated environment actually makes it easier for mold to form and bloom. But by freezing the grounds, it stops any and all mold growth in a flash – and it’s easy!
Just keep a large plastic container or freezer bag in your freezer, and fill it as you go. There is no need to dry out the grounds first, just scoop them into the bag each morning straight from the coffee filter.
This method actually lets you store an amazingly large amount of grounds in a small space. We especially like the freezer bag option. The frozen grounds can be squeezed in and crushed in the bag as you go, and fit into small spaces in the freezer with ease.
Frozen grounds are also easy to use and mix as needed when spring rolls around. They break apart fast and can be divided as needed for mixing with seed starting soil, potting soil, or right in the garden. (See : How To Create Incredible Homemade Potting Soil)
#2 Dry Before You Store! Saving Coffee Grounds In The Winter
If freezer space is at a premium, there are still a few great options for saving your grounds without the concern of mold. The secret to success all comes to down to drying out your grounds before storing them.
This can be accomplished a couple of different ways. It really depends on how fast you want to dry them out, and how much effort you want to put into it!
One of the fastest ways to dry out coffee grounds for storing is by placing them on an old cookie sheet, and then “baking” them on low heat in your oven. Simply spread out the grounds on the cookie sheet over the course of a few days.
You can usually fit a weeks worth of grounds on a single baking sheet – and in that short amount of time, there is little chance of the grounds molding. To heat and dry, set your oven on 175 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the cookie sheet or baking pan on the middle rack, and let the heat do it’s work. Most grounds will dry out within an hour or two. Once dry, allow the grounds to cool, and then store in an airtight container.
You can try to dry out your grounds naturally without the help of an oven. If you have a warm room of the house that is not too humid, spread out a thin layer of grounds on the cookie sheet or pan.
Place a paper towel underneath to help to wick away moisture, and let the grounds sit for about a week, occasionally stirring up the grounds to allow the air to circulate. This takes a bit longer to dry completely, but saves the use of an oven.
Whatever You Do – Don’t Throw Them Out! Saving Coffee Grounds In The Winter
Finally, even if you can’t freeze or dry your grounds first, don’t throw those coffee grounds in the trash! Instead, take them to your compost pile.
Coffee grounds are actually one of the best ingredients of all for a compost pile. Especially in the winter! As a “green source”, coffee grounds actually work to heat up a pile, helping to break down carbon materials quickly.
And although the grounds might mold indoors in the winter, an outside compost pile is a perfect alternative. If it is too cold, the grounds will simply freeze until it warms. And once it does, they will come to life and can be dug into the pile to help get it going.
Here is to saving your coffee grounds this winter without having them mold. And, to having plenty of grounds on hand next spring to power all of your plants and soil!
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