Tuesday, November 26

Simmering Holiday Stovetop Potpourri

Last year, some friends of mine passed out little bags of potpourri that was meant to be simmered over the stovetop…or in the case of most of us living in SE Asia, our rice cookers ;-) It made our whole house smell so good and Christmassy.

I decided to try my hand at making my own this year. If you’re looking for a creative, and affordable, gift to give this year, you might want to consider making this stovetop potpourri!

Here’s what I used for my potpourri, but this can be adjusted depending on the fragrance you’re going for:
1 orange, sliced into thin, round pieces 
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into smaller pieces 
1 Tbsp cloves 
1 Tbsp star anise 
1 tsp allspice 
1 tsp ground nutmeg 
1 Tbsp vanilla extract (added to the pot once I start simmering)

The longest part of this process is drying out the orange slices. This helps to preserve the fragrant oils so that your potpourri will give off a holiday fragrance for longer.

The method I chose for my first batch was placing the orange slices directly onto the rack in my oven (heated to 250F/120C). It took about 2 hours and very frequent checks and flipping so that I didn’t burn the slices. Even after 2 hours, the slices weren’t completely dried out and still a little sticky.

When I did my research on the internet, most oven methods take many, many hours. I’m sorry, but I truly have no desire to leave my oven running all day long while living in the tropics. So, I asked my friend how she dried out her fruit for the batch of potpourri she handed out last year. She responded, "I have a dehydrator." That will definitely get the job done. I plan to borrow it from her this week when we all meet together for Thanksgiving. Hopefully I can give an update on this post of how well it turns out (because I'm already assuming it will work better).

The next step is fairly easy. Combine dried orange slices with all the other ingredients (except for the vanilla extract) into a ziplock bag. Seal it closed and shake it "like a polaroid pic'tcha!" Sorry for the Black-Eyed Peas reference but it paints a good word picture, no? Now, I dare you not to sing the song when you shake up your ingredients...

The next step is dependent on what you would like to do with your new potpourri. If you're ready to make your house smell like Christmas, go ahead and pour the potpourri into a pot, add some water, mix in the vanilla and start simmering!

If you plan on giving this as a gift, put it into a cute plastic bag or pretty container and let the beauty of the potpourri do all the decorating. It looks so pretty, there's hardly much need for anything else. However, I did add some washi tape around my jar and some twine at the top.

If you plan to keep it for yourself but you want to wait until later, you can still put it in a cute container and set it somewhere visible. Just make sure to tell the little ones that it's not for eating, even though it has food items in it ;-) On second thought, you might what to set it out somewhere visible but out of reach.

It's that simple. Once I finished, I put the potpourri into our rice cooker. Once the Mr. came home, the first words out of his mouth were "it smells like Christmas."

Nailed it. 

What scents make you think of the holidays? Have you ever made your own stovetop potpourri? What are some of the ingredients you use?

I'd love for you to follow along!

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  1. I love these smells. I kinda did this last year but put them all in boiling water and just let it boil for an hour or so. It was great! I'm going to have to try this way this year. I'll have to wait to go the Walmart until all of the Black Friday craziness is over :)

    1. That probably wouldn't be the best of days to try and gather potpourri ingredients...though I don't suppose you would have to fight anyone over oranges and cloves ;-)


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