Posts Tagged ‘gifts’
December 20th, 2009
A gift from your garden! With all those beautiful roses in full bloom, it would be a pity to let the lovely scented petals go to waste on the ground, or on the table if you have been enjoying a few blooms inside! Save those petals. They can make a beautiful, and unusual present. Making dried potpourri is something our grandma’s did. It is quite simple but, like most things, the more you experiment the better the results, and once you are past the basic stage potpourri could become another gardening obsession.
Of course all potpourri recipes begin with rose petals, because roses are among the best flowers for keeping their scent when dried, but you can add any flowers or leaves that are scented. Try adding bulk by using the scented leaves of herbs, or gum leaves.
All the ingredients must be well-dried beforehand. Petals should be laid to dry on absorbent paper in a well ventilated dark cupboard. Petals that are dried in the dark retain their scent better. I lay a fresh lot of petals out on some newspaper and let them dry over a few days. To make potpourri, the dry petals, herbs and leaves have to be mixed with a fixative to prevent the evaporation of the oils, which give the potpourri its distinctive scent. Orrisroot is the most popular fixative and can be bought in powdered form at craft shops. Here is a basic recipe:
To every 8 cups of petals, herbs, leaves, etc, add:
1/2 cup orrisroot
2-4 tablespoons crushed spices
2 tablespoons dried citrus peel, crushed
3-6 drops of scented oil
Spices can be used in two ways, whole or powdered. To get the full fragrance it is important to grind or crush them yourself and not rely on packets from supermarket shelves. The most commonly used are cinnamon, mace and nutmeg.
To make the potpourri, put the dried flowers and leaves into a large mixing bowl. Crush the spices and citrus peel and add the orrisroot. Pour the mixture into a large plastic bag and seal it tightly. Store it for six weeks, shaking every other day.