Herbs, flowers, fruits, wood: The substitutes you can count on!
You’ll probably be using at least one of the above things in most magical workings. Here’s a quick breakdown!
ROSEMARY: Rosemary can substitute for any herb. Used for its own properties, it is a good component in cleansing baths, can be kept under the pillow to remember dreams, and things associated with memory: memorable impressions, recall, and enhancement of one’s own memory. In cooking, it makes a delicious addition to savory dishes and meats, while also providing a complex flavor to sweet applications. Rosemary infused in honey or tea is strong and tasty, and it adds a sophisticated edge to simple sweets like sugar cookies.
ROSE: Rose can substitute for any flower. Make sure to only get roses for culinary applications or grow your own, since those from a florist will likely contain pesticides! Roses are known for their uses in love spells, but are also used in many applications calling for happy, benign energy. Rose can soothe an angry heart, especially if the anger is due to relationship issues. In cooking, rose is a delicate floral note that can easily be lost under intense flavor, and is best highlighted in sweet or mild applications. Rose petals and rosehips make great tea, and can be jellied for a vitamin-C rich treat. Rose petals can be infused into oil, honey, sugars, and alcohol. Rose water can be used to enhance the flavor, but be sparing—storebought rosewater does not taste as light as homemade, and can overpower and ruin natural floral flavors.
LEMON/ORANGE: Fruit substitutions are less straightforward than others, but lemon, orange, and occasionally apple are considered solid go-tos. Pick whichever is right for the working or recipe, based either on intent or the other spell components! Lemon is associated with water and the moon, and used frequently in purifying and cleansing—both magical and non-magical. Lemon and honey in hot water is a great remedy for sore throat and indigestion, and the smell of lemon will perk you right up on a sleepy morning. Lemon (or any citrus) peel infuses fantastically in sugar, honey, booze, etc. Avoid using pith (the white stuff) and stick to the flavorful zest and juice. Zest is great in practically any baked good, and simply pouring hot water over used lemon rinds will make you entire house smell amazing.
PINE: Pine is regarded as a good substitute for most resins and woods. Pine resin is easy to collect, as are the needles, with a little reading on the species of tree. Pine is thought to banish sickness and bring in prosperity and luck, and often hung over doors or mixed into fragrant sachets to place under pillows. Pine needle tea is bitter, but rich in vitamins A and C; it should be incorporated sparingly to cooking applications, and you may want to enhance it with mint to avoid overuse of the bitter pine taste. In outdoor cooking, pine smells beautiful under a grill or in a fire.
CLARIFICATION: Some people have pointed out that pine can be dangerous to burn due to the high quantities of resin in the wood. This is not untrue! Pine can produce larger quantities of creosote and smoke, due to the resin and tar in logs. However, unless you cook with an all-pine fire regularly, it is not likely to reach dangerous levels (which you wouldn’t anyway, because all-pine fires will make your food taste like a BUTT). I also specified that it should be outdoor flame, since in a wood stove it can cause dangerous buildup. Also, not a great idea to use exclusively pine wood in a fire, as it won’t burn as well/won’t taste great; it’s best when cut with oak. Since pine burns hot, I like to start my bonfire/grill with it, and then pile apple or cherry wood on for the actual cooking an hour later. A few good pine logs/handful of chips will burn well, smell great, and be largely harmless. So like most spell components, research well and use in moderation!
TOBACCO: Substitute for any poisonous herb. NOT FOR CULINARY USE. It is worth mentioning only in the case that someone is adapting a non-edible spell or ritual into an edible recipe that includes a poisonous herb—NEVER bring toxic plants into the kitchen, at risk of cross-contamination, and instead substitute tobacco by burning a cigarette near the pot (or, if you don’t want that in the house, burning it outside and catching a little smoke in a bottle to bring in). Do not add ashes to the cooking, as they are also poisonous. Don’t let this anywhere near your mouth.
QUARTZ: Not exactly a cooking ingredient, but stones are often used in magic and it is possible to bring them into the kitchen. Clear quartz is a good substitute for any stone you may not have, as it cleanly amplifies energies. While I wouldn’t ever put stones IN something you intend to eat, if you insist on soaking a stone/crystal in liquid recipe ingredients (water, tea, milk, etc), use quartz or another safe stone; malachite, copper, and many other minerals become poisonous when introduced to liquid environments. Don’t put any stone in something acidic, like juice, unless you are POSITIVE it will 1. not erode, and 2. not poison you. Don’t put crystals or stones in overly hot or boiling water, as this could cause them to crack and explode. And if they DO, don’t eat anything with sharp little crystal bits in it! Seriously, treat small shattered crystals like you would glass shards.
Most of these substitute ingredients are entirely edible (or at least mostly harmless) in some form, so if you’re trying to adapt a nonedible spell to baking or cooking, consider using some of these subs in the place of less…digestible…spell components. There are usually plenty of other subs with the properties you need, but these steadfast six are not only reliable, but pretty easy to acquire!