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Potpourri

The how-tos of making a fragrant blend

A blend of fragrant flowers, herbs, spices, and even barks, woods and fruit peels, a potpourri can be sweet, spicy, crisp, woodsy or heady and exotic. Whatever its mood or scent, all potpourris have certain things in common: a blend of compatible fragrances, a fixative -- usually orris root -- and time. Some have essential oils added to replace those lost in drying, others have ingredients used just for looks, or to provide air space so the scents can blend and ripen.

To make potpourri, follow these steps:

 

    • Mix thoroughly dry plant material in a glass container large enough to allow for stirring and blending -- a wide-mouth gallon jar is perfect.
    • Sprinkle essential oils onto chipped orris root and mix with the plant material.
    • Cover jar and shake well daily for two weeks.

 

Once it has ripened for two weeks to blend and lose its initial "raw" smell, it should keep for years. Always keep the container closed for at least as many hours each day as it is open. This gives the plants time to recover their fragrance. If you wish to display it in a glass bowl, simply cover it each night with a plate.

To refreshen tired potpourri, mist very lightly with hot water. Add one tablespoon orris root and five drops of essential oil per pint and mix in a sealed jar for two weeks as you did for new potpourri.