written by: Tania Cowling•edited by: BStone•updated: 6/16/2010
Looking for a nice way to freshen the air at home? Make all natural potpourri blends that are from nature, healthy for you, and good for the environment.
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There is nothing nicer than having your home smell fresh with the scents of flowers or spices; nothing overbearing. Sure, it's easy to pick up store-bought potpourri, however most of the time it is sprayed with heavy synthetic perfumes or dyed with materials that can be toxic. Nature smells better and is healthier for you and the environment. Homemade potpourri is created by combining the dried nature finds in an airtight container and letting it cure over time. Go on a nature walk and gather materials to make all natural potpourri blends for your home. Here are some recipes to try.
Preparation - glass or plastic bowls, and a wooden spoon (never use metal utensils). A mortal and pestle comes in handy to crush flowers, leaves and spices.
Fixative - is the material that is used to preserve and hold the scent of your potpourri blend. Orris root is commonly used - it's a type of flower in the Iris family that is ground into a powder. This fixative is mixed in with your nature finds. Some other known fixatives are wood shavings, Sandalwood chips, Oak moss, and cinnamon.
Fragrance - at first the potpourri has a fragrance, but in time natural essentials oils can be added to your potpourri mix to freshen the aroma.
Filler - this is the dried flowers, herbs, spices, wood shavings or chips. If you are collecting nature finds outdoors, these need to be dried first. Plan on shrinkage of your materials, so if you want to end up with one cup of potpourri, you will need to start with four cups of fresh items.
Airtight containers - jars, crocks, even zipper-type plastic bags so you can store the potpourri until use.
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Here are some suggested flowers, herbs and spices to use when making an all natural potpourri blend to freshen your home.
Lily of the valley
Spices and such:
Dried peels from oranges, lemons, limes
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Once you have collected your flowers and herbs, they must be dried well before placing them in your jars or containers. Some methods take a couple of weeks whereas drying them in the oven may take several hours. You want your nature finds dry so they do not mold or mildew. Here are a few ways to dry your soon-to-become potpourri:
Tie branches of flowers or herbs into bundles. Hang these upside down in a warm, dry place inside the home.
Scatter the nature finds onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet and dry these in the oven. Use the lowest temperature and leave the oven door open.
Blossoms can be placed in a large glass jar and place in a sunny window to dry. The sun does the work.
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The mixing of flowers, herbs, and spices is an individual form of experimentation and the essence you want to achieve. You need four main ingredients for each potpourri blend; flowers, herbs and spices, fixative, and an essential oil (to keep it fragrant).
A recipe example:
4-5 cups of fragrant dried flowers, leaves, roots, and seeds
1/4 to 1/2 cup dried citrus peels
4-5 tablespoons crushed spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg or cardamom)
2 tablespoons fixative
5-6 drops of essential oil (one that is part of your floral or spice bouquet)
Textured elements like pinecones, bark, or seashells (optional)
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There is really no right or wrong way to make all natural potpourri blends; it is a matter of what smells pleasant to you. Enjoy the process along the way as you gather, dry, and mix your blends. These potpourri blends also make lovely gifts whether you present them in a jar or place them in cloth sachet bags.