Christmas is everyone’s favorite time of year. For most of us, though, this festive season seems to come and go all too quickly. In mid October, you’re in a planning frenzy and before you know it, all the excitement of Christmas has faded into a whirl of January white sales and “holiday catch-up”. One way to extend the happy moments that make Christmas so enchanting is to make a batch of potpourri (a mixture of dried petals as in a sachet) out of the fresh roses you received as gifts or used to decorate your home this holiday season. It’s a fun family project that everyone can help with, and the sweet smelling finished product will remind you again and again of the joyous holiday season.
To start your potpourri, collect the petals remaining on the rose stem before they turn brown. Dry them until crisp on a screen, cookie sheet or any flat surface. Red, one of the prominent colors of the season, is also the single most popular rose color purchased in the month of December and when dried, red roses turn a lovely deep wine color.
For each quart of petals you collect, add one tablespoon of fixative (an aroma additive) – dry lavender, oak moss, sandalwood or orrisroot are good choices and are available at many herb and spice shops or drugstores. Use the chopped form, not powdered.
Next, stir in your favorite herbs and spices. Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, dried citrus peel and vanilla beans are popular additions. Finally, add several drops of essential oils. If you like, substitute your favorite perfume. Seal the finished potpourri in a jar and let it mellow for approximately ten days. In order to properly blend the ingredients, shake the jar briskly every two days.
When looking for places to put the potpourri, let your imagination run wild. Potpourri makes a perfect room freshener. Place some in a ginger jar or an antique potpourri vase. Covered candy dishes and antique canisters also make good potpourri “pots”. If your potpourri includes several colors of rose petals, display it in a clear glass box or wicker basket.
Add potpourri to the stuffing of pillows, hang it in pomanders in your closets, or strew it on the bottom of linen chests. You might try making sachets by placing a handful of the fragrant petals in a lace or linen handkerchief. Once filled, gather up the points of the material and tie with a satin bow. Lay the sachets in lingerie drawers or tuck them into gift boxes as an extra sweet smelling surprise.
As the months of the new year go by, continue collecting rose petals from the bouquets you receive for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, Sweetest Day, Secretary’s Day or any other time you buy or receive roses “just for fun”. Add the petals from these special occasions to the potpourri along with additional spices as needed. Soon you’ll have an overflowing and permanent keepsake of many good times.
Information Provided Courtesy of Roses Inc., P.O. Box 99, Haslett, MI 48840.
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