Often in the late autumn and early winter, life is busy but I want the house to smell cozy and warm without having to bake a sheet of cookies or bake bread.
Thus, I tend to throw cinnamon sticks and cloves into a pan of water on the stove or in the slow cooker and let it simmer for hours, savoring the aroma that fills my home.
However, one day I decided to toss some leftover orange peels and a few stray cranberries in with the spices one day and – oh! – swooning doesn't even begin to describe it. (As many of you know, the combination of cranberry and orange makes me swoon. I've even got a Pinterest board dedicated to those sumptuous flavors. Yes, I'm a sucker, I know.)
But the real inspiration struck when I was organizing some old boxes and I found an old tin from Williams-Sonoma that once held mulling spices, which had been given to me by a student as a gift at Christmastime and that I had cherished for years. Even now, nearly two decades later, the tin still brings a smile to my face.
Why not give homemade potpourri as a gift instead of cookies or candy to those people you want to shower with love or appreciation during the holidays? You can give it with all fresh ingredients or you can dehydrate the orange and cranberries if you prefer. It's just plain pretty either way. 🙂
A holy, merry Christmas to everyone! May your Advent be peaceful and joy-filled.
2 small oranges
1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole allspice
2 teaspoons whole cloves
a small amount of nutmeg (I typically save the nubs of my whole nutmeg for this purpose, but 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg will do nicely too)
Place allspice, cloves, and nutmeg in an empty tea bag, if desired (you can buy them here, fashion your own by cutting a little pouch out of a coffee filter and stapling it shut, or repurpose a “regular” tea bag).
Layer all ingredients in a quart-size mason jar or other decorative jar. If you'd like to include a tag with instructions, write:
stovetop or slow cooker
Slice oranges, then simmer all ingredients with 6 cups of water, uncovered.
Use potpourri within 48 hours.
To extend the life of your potpourri, used dried cranberries and dried orange slices instead of fresh. See how to dehydrate oranges here.