Let’s start with Potpourri this week. It’s simple to put together and last for quite a long time. Nope, this is nothing like the potpourri you buy from the stores – bags of dried out bits, unrecognisable wood shavings, leaves and other “botanicals” that the labels claim will transport us to Christmas, a garden party or even an exotic paradise - all at once!
Now, flowers have long been used to scent the home and it was during the 18th century that the potpourri was first created. Potpourri was originally a culinary term meaning a pot of mixed vegetables but it got hijacked and became a pot of fresh mixed fragrance fowers, herbs and spices.
Unlike modern versions, a traditional potpourri always contains roses. A fixative is required to prolong the fragrance and essential oil (please do not use fragrant oil) is used to intensify the scent. The easiest potpourri is a dry mix. Here’s a classic recipe and you will need the following:
2 to 3 teaspoons of spice(s) of your choice
25g orris root powder (from the Iris flower)
6 drops of essential oil
1 kg of fresh flower petals of your choice
25g herbs / leaves (sage and dried lavender are very nice!)
1 teaspoon of citrus peel such as grated orange / lemon rind (optional)
(i) To make the potpourri, mix the spices, orris powder and essential oil first. When you add essential oil, make sure to rub the mixture between your fingers and thumb to make sure the oil is evenly distributed.
(ii) In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Add the aromatic spice mixture and mix thoroughly. Store this mixture in airtight container and keep it in a cool, dark cupboard for at least 2-3 weeks. Shake the container occasionally to redistribute the ingredients. After “maturing”, put the potpourri in a decorative bowl or use it to fill organza bags as gifts.