Today I felt like playing, not cooking, not even writing, so I put together the bits and bobs I’ve been squirreling away to make potpourri. Here is a photo of the finished product… about a gallon of potpourri in my largest pasta bowl. I wish you could smell it — the fragrance is like citrus spice heaven!
All summer I’ve been dehydrating fruit and vegetables. Last week it was apples (because it’s Fall) and bananas (because I bought way too many). Never wanting to waste anything, I’ve also been saving orange and lemon peels leftover from juicing. Over the summer months I collected quite a lot of dehydrated peels. (Orange and lemon peels are a great way to fill that extra empty tray when you dehydrate). I followed my normal procedure of dehydrating overnight at 105 degrees F because that low temperature protects the living enzymes in the fruit so it is preserved, but still considered raw. It was also the perfect temperature to dry out the citrus peels while still allowing them to maintain their fresh fragrance. Can you see them on the bottom shelf?
Here is what I used in this potpourri (amounts are up to you):
Orange peels, cut into 1/2 inch strips
Lemon peels, cut into 1/2 inch strips
cinnamon sticks, broken into small pieces or crushed
whole star anise
Fragrance oils: I used food grade wild orange, cinnamon and clove oils (a few drops each) because I didn’t want any unnatural chemical smells contaminating the air in our home.
dried calendula flowers (optional). I used these because I had a huge bag on hand for making a soothing decaffeinated tea, and because they look pretty in the potpourri mixture… but you can skip the calendula or add something else you might have in your pantry.
Cinnamon/ applesauce cutouts:
To make these you will need about 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce and enough ground cinnamon to make a workable dough. I used a container of the cheap cinnamon you can find in many stores for about a dollar and mixed these two simple ingredients together until the dough was no longer sticky. Sprinkle more cinnamon on your work surface as needed, and roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut shapes with small cookie cutters and dehydrate overnight at 105 degrees. The house will smell wonderful when you wake up!
So, try making your own potpourri. It’s much less expensive than the fancy varieties you’ll find in stores this holiday season, You can refresh the scent with a few added drops of essential oil as needed. Have fun! Fill your home with fragrance or give as gifts. Enjoy!