A couple of years ago I was browsing Pinterest and ran across a whole board of homemade potpourri. It looked beautiful and I was sure all of the recipes were amazing. Since it was close to Christmas, I looked for a holiday blend to use while family was gathered at our house. I found this recipe from Dandee and loved her idea of giving it out as Christmas gifts to neighbors. I love to bake at Christmas time, however some of our neighbors and family are diabetic and I really shouldn’t be tempting them with sugar. This is a great alternative and it smells amazing.
The first year I gave it out I had a lot of puzzled faces. People weren’t sure what to do with it despite the directions written on the back of the tags. The contents of the bag go into a saucepan on the stovetop in water and simmer. You can actually use it for about a week if you keep refilling it with water. My parents left their bag in the kitchen and mentioned a couple of times that it didn’t smell. #facepalm
The next Christmas people started to catch on, and by the third everyone was asking for it. “You are making the smelly-good stuff this year, right?” They were hooked — and so was I.
I’ve lost track of how many years I have been making my potpourri. I have changed the recipe a little over the years. All of the ingredients can get quite expensive and so I cut down on a few things to make it more affordable. Here is my recipe:
- 1/3 cup dried cloves
- 1/4 cup allspice
- 2-3 sticks of cinnamon
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 slice of dried orange
- 1 slice of dried lemon
- 3 slices of dried apples
I arrange everything in a cellophane bag in the order above and tie it off with a nice Christmas bow. I also write the directions on how to use it on a tag attached to the bow.
I start the process a couple of weeks before gift giving starts to provide enough time to dry the fruit. I have a 5-tray dehydrator that I use for drying. I start with the citrus and let them dry for about 24-48 hours. You have to keep a close eye on the lemon or the pulp will turn black. It still smells good, but it doesn’t look very pretty. I give the apples about 72 hours to dry and haven’t ever had a problem with them burning.
My husband is the online order king so I ask him for the spices I need and it arrives in the mail a couple of days later. He gets most of our spices from Spicy World. They come in bulk which saves a lot of money. I currently have two HUGE bags of cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. I’ll never use all of those bay leaves in my entire life. If you end up making this, I’ll be happy to give you some!
I take one night and put everything together at the dining room table. I always think it would be much more fun with a friend drinking wine and chatting away. Maybe I’ll try that next year.
Stay tuned for my next post in a few days about my second homemade gift this year. I can’t wait to share it with you and those that receive it!