Home Made Potpourri

Home made potpourri makes a wonderful gift. Learn how to make it.

If you have a garden you can make potpourri for those Christmas gifts: wonderful smelling sachets. As a teenager I used to make them from my mother's rose garden. For some unknown reason I thought the flowers should be picked really early so I set the alarm and before the sun came up I had my petals all picked. Actually if your area has been really dry you'll need to pick the flower petals before the hot part ofhte day. Select the flowers before they are full blown, loose buds are the most fragrant.

First of all you'll need to clip off the whole flower head with shears, then quickly, before they begin to sweat, pull off the petals and spread them to dry in a ventilated, dark place. Keep each variety of flowers in a separate pile. After the petals are thoroghly dry, they are ready to pack in screw-top jars in alternating layers of petals with sprinklings of orrisroot. Then you'll store them in a dark place to preserve the color. Some formulas also recommend a sprinkle of uniodized salt but use caution as in damp climates the salt takes up moistre and may mold the mixture. All summer dried petals may be added to the hars. When the year's crop of petals are collected then it is time to mix the brew.

Now as for your choice of ingredients, there is just not one known formula for making potpourri.

Your mixture can be just rose petals with an assortment of other flowers available in your flower garden, along with spices and herbs and also oils. I prefer not to include a lot of combinations but to stick to three to five flowers, two or three herbs and spices and one or two oils. Rose petals and lavender are usually my principal ingredients. Delicate mixtures should include only floral scents; others may favor spices or herbs. Use the strong scented ingredients in scant measure. Keep a tight hand on cedar and balsam needles, all mints, and the oils of peppermint and eucalyptus, or they will dominate the mixture.

Your aim is to have a pleasant fragrance, but also an interesting texture and pretty coloring effect also. The Lavender and herbs build texture and contrast and unscented floewrs like yellow calendula petals and blue bachelor buttons do nice things for the color.

It is possible to make your own formula, using what you have. For instance, I usually have this formula, to one quart of rose petals and one cup of lavender add one tablespoon of three herbs, and two or three tablespoons of crushed spices. Follow this with twelve drops of one or two oils, added one drop at a time; then you stir well. Last, put in two tablespoons of fixative and several drops of brandy. After mixing thoroughly with a wooden spoon or a glass rod, store tightly closed in china, pottery, or glass. If in glass, I keep them in a dark place. Stir occasionally and in a few weeks the potpourri will be blended and ready for use.

I have made potpourri mixtures and used them in sachets, in padding on hangers, and in either closed or open porcelain jars. In a closed jar, potpourri will keep for years. The jar of course, stands open when the fragrance is wanted.

I do hope my suggestions will help you in making your own formula of potpourri.

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