Potpourri Recipes

Make your own potpourri with these simple recipes. In Victorian times it was common to find parlors enhanced by bouquets of herbs and dried flowers. Today potpourri is a craft for useful household object and scented home decor.

In Victorian times it was common to find parlors enhanced by bouquets of herbs, and dried flowers were used as early as 1594. Flowers were preserved much like they are today by hanging fresh cut flowers upside down in small bundles in a dark well ventilated room.

To make potpourri, you must start with beautiful blooms that are at the peak of maturity and dry from morning dew. The flat drying method works the best for potpourri in my opinion. After removing all leaves from the flower stems, you can use a mesh screen to poke the stems through so the flower is facing up and open. You can support the screen on blocks and place it in a dry dark attic, under an un-used bed or closet floor. Check the flowers every few days to see if they are almost dry. Remove them from the screens and clip off the stems right before they are completely dried. Partially dried flowers and petals retain their scented oils longer if they are not completely dried.

You can also use a quick dry method by arranging the flowers on cheesecloth spread out on a baking sheet. Put the tray in a 90 degree oven leaving the door ajar. You will want to stir the leaves around once in a while. You can also use the microwave for drying herbs like mint, rosemary, bay, sage and thyme. Do not microwave for more than 1 minute at a time being careful not to over dry.

Experiment with your own favorite mixture of potpourri or try this one.

Use 6 cups of partially dried petals such as roses, chamomile, honeysuckle, violets, lilac, lilies of the valley, carnations, white jasmine and nasturtium.

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon herb, cinnamon and rosemary.

Add 1/3 cup powdered fixative such as orrisroot and 3 drops of essential oil both available at craft and florists shops. Add some citrus peel too.

Mix everything together and place in airtight jars. Let the mixture stand for 4-6 weeks and shake the bottle to mix every week.

Potpourri is beautifully displayed in glass dishes or small decorative baskets. Tie 1-2 cups of potpourri into a sachet of tulle and tie with a cinnamon stick and bow for a sweet way to freshen up a lingerie drawer.

For a simple gift idea insert 1 string of miniature Christmas lights into a small, decorative glass jar. Next pour your potpourri mixture around the lights. Put a crochet doily on top of the jar and secure it to the glass with a decorative ribbon allowing the end of the cord to come down the back of the glass jar. When you plug in the arrangement the warmth of the lights will warm the essential oils and release the fragrances. The jar will glow beautifully on a small end table or mantle display.

Years ago I added mulberry potpourri to clear glass Christmas tree ornaments and dressed them up with a fancy gold bow. Because they are stored year around in a dark, dry location the scent and color are still vibrant each year for me to enjoy.

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