With cooler weather approaching, fall aromatics begin to make their way into our home. The use of dried botanicals to make an aromatic, or potpourri, has been around for a fairly long time. Potpourri comes from the French word for rotten pot, and was a common household method for mixing scent throughout the home. Potpourri was used in the 17th century and included a collection of dried botanicals such as spices, flower petals, herbs and fruit.
The botanicals used in the making of potpourri were dried to concentrate the natural chemical properties which gives the blend its scent; the essential oils. The dried botanicals were mixed to create a unique blend, and the potpourri was either simmered in hot water, or added to sachets. The dried botanicals imparted their aromatics on clothing, bedding or any desired area within the home.
You can create natural potpourri that is eco-friendly, and a cost effective way to make gifts or indulge in the scents of the season. If you are looking for a subtler way to enhance your personal space with natural aromatics, then potpourri is the way to go. You can still get your aromatic fix of essential oil heaven, but through an approach from a different period of time.
Use the oven drying method to dehydrate your fruits if you do not have a food dehydrator. Preheat oven to 250 degrees and place a rack in the center. Slice desired fruit paper thin, and in a decorative fashion. Place the sliced fruit on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper (do not use wax paper). Avoid the fruit overlapping one another. Bake for approximately 1 ½ to 3 hours, depending on the fruit selected and thickness. Check fruit for proper dryness every 30 minutes after the first hour of baking. Keep your natural potpourri in a sealed glass container.
If using herbs or flowers, dry them on their stems over five to seven days. After the flowers and herbs have dried, remove the stems and place the usable parts in a sealed glass jar. Open jars once a day for a week to allow any moisture in the plant material to be dissipate. The stems may be saved and used for an Earthier potpourri blend.
Recipes that follow can be adjusted to your desired scent. Add more or less of the ingredients according to what you like. Always store unused potpourri in sealed jars out of direct sunlight, high temperatures and humidity. You can use a silica gel pack in your jars to help keep your botanicals dry.
8 each Ginger Slices
1 each Cinnamon Stick
¼ Vanilla Bean
4 each Lemon Slices
Lime and Mint
4 each Lime Slices
2-3 sprigs Fresh Mint