Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Make Your Own Potpourri: Part III

Making your own potpourri is fun and easy! It is particularly rewarding when you can gather your own ingredients and dry them yourself.  That is what I did for most of the ingredients I used in this recipe. You can see here and here how I gathered my own ingredients and dried them.  Today, I am going to show you how to put it all together.

Here is the recipe.  This recipe was listed in Part I of this series as well:

Refreshing Lavender Potpourri
2 cups lavender flowers
1 cup costmary
½ cup peppermint leaves
6 tablespoons rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons each juniper berries and allspice berries
4 tablespoons orris root powder
4 drops lavender oil
2 drops each rosemary and peppermint oil

When combining the ingredients for potpourri, it is not necessary to have every item or the quantities listed.  The beauty of making your own is that you can do it anyway you want! For example, I didn't have 1/2 cup of peppermint leaves so I added rose leaves instead. I also didn't have 1 cup costmary. I changed the amount of some of the other ingredients: I added 4 tablespoons of juniper berries and only 2 tablespoons of orris root. My orris root is in chunks, not a fine powder. I also added some additional items not in the recipe to give it some color and visual interest.

I usually mix potpourri in metal tins (the kind Christmas cookies and candy come in.) I like metal tins because it holds the scent well and I can't smell it at all until I take the top off.  This is important because I make many different kinds of potpourri and I don't want them all competing with each other. Once you mix the potpourri, 'rest' it for a few weeks to let the scents combine. The metal tins are a great way to do this as well. You can use the tin for decoration until the potpourri is ready to display!

I started with lavender flowers.  I grew and harvested some this year but I didn't get two cups worth so I supplemented mine with purchased lavender flowers.  Then I added some blue corn flowers. (I purchased these too.) I purchase my potpourri supplies from here. I am sure if you try an Internet search, you can find other suppliers as well. I add these corn flowers to many of my recipes because the color matches the decor in my family room. Then I added the juniper berries I had gathered and dried this past spring.

Next,  I added the rose leaves. I didn't measure, I just added them until it looked like it was enough.

After I added the orris root and rosemary, I felt the mix didn't have enough texture so I added some wood chips.

Then I added the scents. I used essential oils that are in my soapmaking supplies. You can purchase scents in large quanities from soapmaking suppliers or you can go to a health food store and get small bottles. The San Francisco Herb Company link I listed above also has essential oils. I kept to the ratios listed in the original recipe but I didn't use drops. I used 1/4 teaspoon each of rosemary and peppermint. I added 1/2 teaspoon of lavender.

Next, I put the top on the tin and shook well. Really well. To help the scents blend, it is best to shake the tin daily for a few weeks. This is where using a decorative tin comes in! If I put this in the closet I would forget to shake it.  By putting it in a tin that can be used as a decoration, I keep the potpourri where I will see it on a daily basis. Then every time I pass by it, I shake it for a few minutes. Sometimes I will shake it several times a day.  I placed this tin by the front door. Every time I went out the front door, I shook the tin for a minute or two.  Here you can see the tin in the lower right hand corner of the picture. The tin is sitting on top of another tin. That larger tin is holding a different potpourri blend.

After a few weeks, the potpourri is ready to use!  Isn't it pretty?

This potpourri will stay in the tin until Christmas is over. (I currently have some Christmas potpourri on display.) When the tree comes down, the Refreshing Lavender Potpourri will liven up my family room all winter!

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