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Fragrant Christmas Potpourri


You can spice up your home for the holidays with a beautiful and fragrant potpourri blend using dried apple slices, dried orange slices, and dried whole slit oranges combined with pinecones, cinnamon sticks, and whole anise stars.  The combined fragrance is perfect for Christmas. You can also add drops of Christmas fragrance oils like cinnamon, orange, apple, etc., You can add Christmas colors to your blend like red and green leaves and pods, for this blend I added cedar tips for a splash of green and red bakuli pods for a splash of red. There are many different types of colorful pods you can find at aromatherapy shops and crafts shops that sell potpourri ingredients.



How to Make Fragrant Potpourri


Now that your summer flowers are blooming and your herbs are bushy, you can collect them, dry them and make wonderful potpourri blends out of them to enjoy long after the blooming season is over. If you’re not sure how to dry them, see our posts: How to Dry Flowers for Crafts, and How to Dry Herbs for Crafts. If you don’t want to dry herbs and flowers yourself, you can buy them at crafts stores, aromatherapy supply stores, potpourri supply stores, florists, and even some health food stores.

A potpourri blend consists of dried herbs/flowers, essential oils, and a fixative. You can also add pods, berries, spices, and dried fruit slices. What exactly is a fixative and why do you need it? Since you’re going to be adding essential oils to your potpourri, you don’t want the smell to evaporate quickly and that’s where a fixative comes in. It’s a porous substance that literally absorbs the essential oils and retains them and makes the smell last longer. Some of the most popular fixatives are orris root, vetiver root, calamus root, sandalwood bark, gum benzoin, vanilla pods, and oakmoss. Orris root comes powdered or chopped, if you’re going to display your potpourri I would recommend the chopped version because the powder is going to make your potpourri blend look crumbly, but if you’re going to put it in a sachet, use the powder. Some spices also make great fixatives like cinnamon sticks, nutmeg (whole and powdered) and allspice. A good rule of thumb is to use about 2 Tablespoons of fixative per 4 cups of dried flowers and herbs.

When preparing your blend, make sure that your flowers and herbs are completely dry because any moisture is going to cause your potpourri to become moldy.  Some flowers that dry well are: roses, yarrow, hydrangeas, marigolds/calendula, geraniums, strawflowers, artemisia, ameranths, baby’s breath and sunflowers. Herbs that dry well are: lemon balm, rosemary, lavender, mint, sage, chamomile, oregano, basil, thyme, and bay leaves. Dried fruit slices like apples and oranges will also add color and fragrance to your potpourri blends. You can dry them yourself or buy them from crafts stores and potpourri supply stores.

Dried flowers and herbs have different lovely shades of yellows, oranges, blues, reds, pinks, and whites, and you can make a beautiful and stunning display by choosing combinations that complement each other. If you want a rustic country display, you can add whole pods and spices to your blend. With your essential oils, you can add a single scent or even make a combination of your choice.

To make your potpourri, gather together all of your dried materials and fixatives and add 6 to 12 drops of your essential oil onto the fixative, depending on how strong you want the scent to be. Stir your blend gently trying not to bruise or crush the dried flowers and put your potpourri into a brown paper bag and store it in a cool dry place for a few weeks until the fragrance is absorbed well into your potpourri. Every few days shake the bag to evenly disperse the fragrance and check on how strong the scent is. Once you’re satisfied with the result, pour your finished potpourri into decorative jars, bowls, trays, or any display container of your choice and enjoy.



Fragrant Potpourri Idea: Citrus Potpourri


You can have a pretty citrus scented potpourri blend that is so naturally fragrant that it doesn’t even need added fragrance oil. For this blend you will need dried citrus slices (oranges, limes, and lemons). You can buy dried fruit slices from crafts stores but if you want to dry them yourself, click here to see how. You will also need dried citrus peel, this can also be purchased at crafts stores but you can also dry it yourself with these steps. What adds to the citrus scent and also adds a lovely green color to this blend is a wonderful lemon scented herb – Lemon Verbena. Just add dried Lemon Verbena leaves to your dried citrus slices and citrus peel. Make sure all your ingredients are thoroughly dried because if there is any moisture in them it will start to mold and ruin your potpourri. And just as an accent to add a little red color, I added some dried rosehips to the blend, but that is optional.

The combination of this blend creates a really nice citrus scent on it’s own but if you want to make it stronger you can add some citrus scented fragrance oil to it.



Drying Fruit Slices


Dried fruit slices and peels are a great way to give your home a country prim look and they provide a fun way for you to get crafty and creative. They are fragrant and can be added to potpourri blends, fixins blends, wreaths, swags, etc,. They also make pretty and fragrant gift package decorations and Christmas tree decorations. When they are placed around candles, especially bakery candles, they give a nice country prim look.

The pic above is of an prim apple fixins blend. It combines dried apple slices with fragrant spices like cinnamon sticks, allspice, and cloves. The look and smell is very seasonal and makes a great addition to country prim home decor.

The easiest way to dry fruit slices is to use a dehydrator. But if you do not have a dehydrator, you can use the standard oven method.

To dry apple slices using the oven method, core your apples and slice them about 1/4 inch thick. In order to prevent them from oxidizing and turning brown during the process, dip the slices into a solution of 2 cups lemon juice and 3 tablespoons salt. Make sure the slices are well soaked for about 15 minutes. After you remove them, pat them dry with paper towels and place them on cookie sheets and dry for about 6 hours at 150 degrees. Keep the oven door slightly ajar to ensure good air circulation. Turn the slices when they start to curl.

For oranges, slice them about 1/4 inch thick and gently squeeze out as much of the moisture as possible without squeezing and misshaping the slices. Then place the slices on a cookie sheet and dry for about 6 hours at 150 degrees. As with the apples, keep the oven door slightly ajar for air circulation.