Fragrant Potpourri | Reader's Digest

Fragrant Potpourri

How to make your own personalized potpourri mix.

Fill pillows and sachets with your own potpourri mixtures, in combinations to suit a particular recipient’s likes and dislikes, to give an added personal touch to this gift.

You Will Need Fragrant flowers and leaves, spices, orange peel Scissors Sheets of newspaper Shoe-box with lid, or large paper bag

What to Do Preparing the Dried Flowers and Leaves 1. Gather flowers and leaves from the garden early in the morning (but after the overnight dew has dried, because plant material may rot). Pick flowers when they are fully open and before they begin to decay. Pick herbs just as they come into flower.

2. As soon as possible after picking, spread the flowers and leaves on several sheets of newspaper. Leave small flowers, such as tiny rosebuds, daisies or lavender, intact. To prepare larger flowers, remove the petals from the sepals (the green part at the base of the flower). Snip large leaves into several pieces with scissors.

3. Place the newspaper in a dry, airy place, away from wind and direct sunlight. Each day, toss the flowers with your fingertips to make sure that they dry out evenly. The material should be ready in three or four days.

4. When they are leathery to the touch, store the dried flowers and leaves in a lidded shoe-box or closed paper bag until you are ready to make the potpourri. This protects the plant material from dust and prevents it from becoming moldy.

Making the Potpourri 1. Put the ingredients for the recipe you want to make in a box or paper bag and shake them together lightly.

2. Fill sachets or pillows with the mixture as soon as possible, and stitch or tie the receptacle shut.

Recipes

Mixed flowers 1/2 cup mixed heavily scented dried flower petals 1/4 cup dried lavender 1/4 cup dried verbena leaves 1/4 cup dried rosemary Peel of one orange, cut into slivers and dried

Sweet rose 1 cup dried scented rose petals Peel of half an orange, cut into slivers and dried 1/4 cup crushed cloves and cinnamon sticks 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Rose and herb 1/4 cup dried scented rose petals 1/4 cup dried mint 1/4 cup dried lemon balm 1/4 cup dried lemon verbena

Lemon verbena 1 cup dried lemon verbena

Old English lavender 1 cup dried very fragrant lavender 5 or 6 crushed cloves

Lavender and rose 1/2 cup dried fragrant lavender 1/2 cup dried rose petals 1/4 cup dried lemon verbena leaves or dried thyme 10 crushed cloves, or a small stick of crushed cinnamon

Lavender and rosemary 1/2 cup dried rosemary 1/2 cup dried lavender Some slivers of dried orange peel 8 whole cloves

Herb 1 cup dried rosemary 1 cup dried fragrant pine needles

Citrus potpourri 1/2 cup lemon verbena leaves 1/2 cup rose geranium leaves slivers of orange and lemon peel 10 crushed coriander seeds

Spicy Pomander For a deliciously perfrumed room or wardrobe, you can substitute pomandcers for potpourri sachets.

1. Stud a few oranges or apples (or both) with whole cloves.

2. In a bowl, mix together ground spices …amp;amp;ldquo; for example, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and orrisroot.

3. Roll the fruits in the ground spices until they are well covered.

4. Place the fruits in individual paper bags for several weeks to dry out.

5. When the fruits are dry, dust them off. Thread a ribbon through them for hanging in a wardrobe, or arrange them in a decorative bowl.

Hints 1. To crush cloves, place them in a plastic bag and roll gently with a rolling pin.

2. Crush leaves with your fingers to release the scent before placing them in the sachet.

3. Unless the dried material you have chosen is heavily scented, (such as scented varieties of lavender, orange blossom, lemon verbena, rosemary, and some of the old fashioned roses), you will need to add spices, herbs or citrus peel to intensify the fragrance.

4. You can buy scented oils to boost the fragrance, but this type of potpourri is not suitable for clothing and linen sachets, or for sleep pillows, as the oil will seep through and stain the fabric.

5. Other suitable ingredients for potpourri are mimosa, jasmine, apple blossom, chamomile, sweet pea, narcissus, honeysuckle, and peel of lemon or lime.