Delightful Fall Potpourri Recipes to Help Ease Sunday Scaries
If you are working or in school on a typical Monday through Friday schedule, you know the emotional roller coaster that is Sunday night. Somehow the weekend has flown by yet again, most likely few things have been accomplished because of the necessary decompression, rest, and chore time, and Monday morning rapidly approaches filled with daunting tasks and errands. Often the tasks that await us can cause unwanted stress. With the holidays coming up and time moving progressively faster, we are all looking for ways to slow down and relax. One way you could do this is with some seasonal fall potpourri.
- Potpourri has been around for hundreds of years to act as a fragrant, attractive centerpiece.
- In addition to its visual appeal, there are aromatherapeutic health benefits to having potpourri around.
- There are two main types of potpourri: simmer pots and dry mixes.
From castles to contemporary
Interestingly, the term "potpourri" was first used in English to refer to a type of stew rather than the dry type we are used to today. These terms were directly derived from the French (pot pourri), where they literally mean "putrid pot."
In 17th century France, after the day's meal preparation was finished, spices or herbs were added to large cooking cauldrons. Then, after being saturated with spirits and placed in lidded receptacles, these herbs and spices were left to decay. Each time the lid was opened, the process produced a strong aroma. These pots were then filled with flowers and placed in rooms throughout the castle, to act as beautiful, fragrant centerpieces.
While modern potpourri serves the same purpose as it did hundreds of years ago, it is quite different today. The majority of contemporary potpourri is made from any decoratively shaped dried plant material (not always from fragrant plants) with powerful natural and synthetic scents and sometimes colorful dyes added to it. The aroma is frequently unrelated to the plant material used.
Occasionally, ingredients that are not made of plants are added to the potpourri to give it bulk and improve its appearance. If you are trying to create your own fall potpourri, you want to stick with naturally fragrant ingredients and essential oils to avoid possible hazardous compounds hidden in mass-produced potpourri aromas.
Benefits of potpourri
The use of essential oils and other aromatic compounds for therapeutic purposes is known as aromatherapy. For centuries, people have utilized aromatherapy for health benefits, often via potpourri. Now, we know that scent molecules have the ability to move straight from the olfactory nerves to the amygdala, the brain's emotional center, and research has shown aromatherapy might alleviate conditions such as insomnia, nausea, depression, anxiety, low appetite, and dry mouth.
Benefits of potpourri
The majority of the time, you already have the things you need to make homemade potpourri, also known as simmer pots. A house deodorizer can be as simple as some water, cinnamon, and vanilla. Potpourri pots can sit out for up to 3 days at a time and are a great way to quickly freshen up your home if you're having company, or just want to enjoy some nice smells for yourself.
Also, if it's fresh and contains edible plant materials, you can also drink your potpourri as a sugarless tea blend. Here are two stovetop fall potpourri recipes you can try out today (and of course edit as you see fit):
1. Cinnamon apple spice
- 1/2 lemon (sliced thin)
- 1/2 an apple (sliced)
- 4 tsp cinnamon sticks (or 1/2 ground cinnamon)
- 2 tbsp whole cloves
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
2. Orange spice
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 2 tbsp whole cloves
- 1 orange sliced in quarters
- 1 cinnamon stick
A medium sized saucepan without the lid should be the perfect vessel for your potpourri recipes. Keep in mind that these are simmer pots, so not boiling, the water should gently bubble.
If you want a fall potpourri to last you through the holidays, you may want to opt for the dry version. While this method is more labor intensive, the end product is something that will last around 3 months. It involves similar ingredients, however, you will need a dehydrator or an oven and lots of patience. Once you cut and dry your ingredients, you can place them in any container for display or storage.
If you are making a wet or dry potpourri, essential oils enhance your specialized scent as well as the aromatherapy benefits. Some other great ingredients known to have benefits when inhaled are:
- Basil - Used to improve attention and lessen some depressive symptoms, basil can also help with migraines and headaches. However, it should be avoided while pregnant.
- Black Pepper - Improves circulation that can aid in healing muscles and bruises.
- Clove - As a topical oil, clove is known to act as a painkiller. It also has anti-nausea and anti-bloating properties when inhaled. This ingredient also has powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.
- Thyme - The scent of time is said to reduce nervousness, fatigue, and stress.
Potpourri is a super easy way to surround yourself with nice smells AND improve your health. It's comletely customizable and most of the ingredients are pretty cheap (keep in mind each batch of potpourri only uses a little of each ingredient so you could use your kitchen scraps). Hopefully, you've now been inspired to create your perfect fall potpourri.
Written by Kiana St. Onge