The weather has been getting a little cooler, Wegmans has hung their giant wreaths on the front of all their stores, Starbucks is using red cups, and there really is no denying the holidays are just around the corner.
One of my big stressors every year is wondering what I can give to my neighbors, kids teachers and friends that is cute, creative that doesn’t break my Christmas Budget. This year I have been working on a few different homemade gifts I am really excited about making with the kids and giving to our friends.
I kind of stumbled on homemade simmering potpourri when I was drying sprigs of rosemary and orange slices in my dehydrator last week. I was originally going to use my newly dried items as decorations this holiday season, but the scent of the rosemary and orange slices coming from the dehydrator all day made me think of potpourri, so I decided to experiment and make some simmering potpourri to use as gifts this season with my dried goodies.
Tips for purchasing spices for simmering potpourri
When I was combing ingredients for simmering potpourri there were a few spices I just did not have in the pantry that I thought would be a nice addition. When I started looking around I did notice spices can get spendy fast. My local grocery store is selling a small container of whole cloves for over $6, but I was able to find the same amount for $1.27 in bulk, so definitely shop around.
I did really well a Dutchland Bulk Foods in Marion, although they had just recently opened, and still had large bare spots on their shelves they did have the essentials, you could also probably grab everything you need at Sauder’s in Seneca Falls for a song.
If you don’t have a bulk food store nearby try the bulk section of your grocery store, prices are generally better than in the baking section on spices.
Try looking in the Hispanic section. Some larger Wal-Mart stores have a line of Hispanic spices that are pretty cheap. I have found whole star anise and allspice for .58¢ a pouch.
- 4 whole star anise
- 3 dried orange slices
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 3 sprigs of dried rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- Gift Tag
If Simmering Right Away:
- Combine all ingredients together in a saucepan.
- Simmer over low heat.
- Never leave unattended and add water as needed. This mix will last for several days.
To Make A Simmering Potpourri Gift:
- Combine all ingredients together in a clear plastic treat bag or mason jar.
- Attach the simmering instructions and holiday gift tag.
Simmering potpourri will usually last 3 days. Add water as needed, and put it in the fridge at night.
Ingredient Suggestions for a Wonderful Simmering Potpourri
Don’t get too hung up on exact measurements! This is foolproof, in fact, get creative and try mixing up your own signature blend.
Try any combination of the following and I guarantee your kitchen will smell warm and inviting.
- Dried or fresh Orange Slices or peels
- Dried or fresh Apple Slices or peels
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Whole Cloves
- Whole Allspice
- Bay Leaves
- Star Anise
- Mulling spices
- Spent vanilla beans
- Dried or fresh sprigs of rosemary
- Dried or fresh sprigs of pine
Packaging Simmering Potpourri for Gift Giving
A package or jar of this simmering potpourri mix would be a thoughtful hostess gift, teacher gift, or neighbor gift. All you need to do is package it in a pretty glass jar, a small gift box, or in a clear gift bag with simmering instructions and you have a great hostess gift. Make sure to use all dry ingredients in your Simmering potpourri gift mix. Drying oranges in the oven is super easy, and the dried orange slices look great in the gift mix.
How to Dry Orange Slices in the Oven
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 Celcius).
- Line a cookie sheet with Parchment Paper, or a non-stick baking mat. This helps avoid a sticky mess when it’s time to remove the oranges from the pan.
- Slice oranges into 1/4″ slices or thinner. The thinner the slices, the faster they will dry.
- Blot the orange slices with a paper towel.
- Place oranges in a single layer on the prepared pan, ensuring they do not touch.
- Bake for up to 6 hours or until completely dry.
If you would also like to use my gift tag I have included a PDF printables here for you. At the time I was making the labels I was considering packing the potpourri in mason jars, the circle tag is sized to fit the top of a regular mouth mason jar lid, if that kind of presentation is more up your alley.
Gift Tags for Homemade Simmering Potpourri
If you prefer to make your own more personalized card or label don’t forget to include the simmering instructions:
-Place in a shallow pan and cover with water.
-Simmer on low and refill water as necessary.
I am really excited to give this as a gift this year! I have been simmering my potpourri for 3 days now and it smells divine. I add water as needed and put it in the fridge at night.
Do you make homemade gifts for the holidays? What is the best homemade gift you have given or received?