Who doesn't remember potpourri from way back in the good old 80s and 90s?! Nearly every household had its fair share of potpourri dotted throughout the living room and in random drawers - and for good reason: it smells great and creates that lovely, warm homely feeling that we have talked about so much lately.
But while potpourri was a popular lounge accompaniment in the 1990s, it actually dates as far back as the early 17th Century, when the beautiful container it was kept in was more important than the potpourri itself!
Potpourri was originally created for those who wanted to extend the life of their roses for as long as possible. Nowadays it not only keeps our homes smelling nice but makes a great gift or decoration as well.
It's super easy to make and is no longer about just using flower petals - these days you can put everything from dried fruit to cinnamon and star anise in your potpourri. Read on and I'll show you how!
Delicious dried fruit potpourri
Well, it's made from exactly that! And will leave a zest that will fill your home with a crisp, fresh scent - perfect for combatting cooking smells, or placed in a drawer with your clothes to keep them smelling fresh and clean.
Drying fruit is super easy and part of the fun in making this potpourri is choosing which of your favourite fruits to mix together. This makes an awesome activity to do with your grandkids or to give as a beautiful hostess gift.
First of all, you need to dry some thin slices of lemon, lime and orange - these are the perfect fruits to use, as they keep their shape once dry.
The process of drying fruit is simple:
1. Cut citrus fruits into 1/8" thick slices
2. Place fruit slices on a wire rack in the oven
3. Heat at 200 degrees Celcius for about two hours, turning the fruit slices every half hour. Leave the oven door slightly open so moisture can escape.
4. If the fruit is not completely dry after two hours, keep heating for a further 30 minutes
Citrus fruits, as described above, work best for this potpourri. It pays to avoid drying fruits like peaches and apricots, which are too moist and tend to be sticky when dehydrated. If the fruit still has its leaves attached, add those to the baking sheet for drying as well.
Freeze-dried fruit, available in some health food stores, has absolutely no moisture in it so works well for potpourri. Berries add pops of colour and freeze-dried strawberries actually look like rose petals.
Once the fruit is dry, put it in a zip lock bag with some mixed spices and vanilla pods then shake, shake, shake!! Once all of the ingredients have combined and are smelling sweet, pop the potpourri into cute containers or bowls and place around your home.
Cosy winter potpourri
Another potpourri "flavour" that is super on trend is Winter Star Anise potpourri. This one contains the oldest potpourri ingredient in the book: rose petals.
1⁄4 cup whole cloves
1 cup whole allspice
10 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
8 small bay leaves
4 whole nutmeg
3 Tbsp star anise
2 Tbsp whole
Combine all ingredients in a zip-lock bag, shake then distribute into bowls or containers and place around your living room or bedrooms.
My favourite potpourri
My go to potpourri is Apple Pie flavoured and PERFECT for cold, wintry evenings because it smells just like home baking and creates a sense of cosy comfort.
You'll just need a few ingredients:
1 x apple, sliced
3 cups of water
1 heaped Tbsp of nutmeg
1 heaped Tbsp of ground cloves (you could use whole cloves too)
2-3 cinnamon sticks (or a Tbsp of cinnamon)
Optional: orange or lemon, sliced
For best results, follow these instructions:
1. In a medium sauce pan, add all ingredients and bring to a soft boil
2. Reduce heat to the lowest setting on your stove and let simmer for a few hours
3. Check on your potpourri a few times to make sure it’s not running out of water
4. You need to time it perfectly - as soon as the water has fully evaporated that’s when you turn it off!
5. Let it sit to dry completely then enjoy!
Remember, you can leave the mixture to boil for a few hour then turn it off and continue the next morning if you don't have time to sit around waiting for it to brew!
This one will last forever and makes a great gift!