Christmas Potpourri

Christmas time always evokes a spicy smell for me — cloves and cinnamon, evergreen boughs, mulled wine. I might not recognize the smell of frankincense and myrrh, but spices are unquestionably a large part of the holidays both in cooking and in a general ambience they create. Can the simple scent of pine pitch transport you across time to every childhood christmas morning, gifts under the tree, the invigorating smell of nature brought indoors for the season?

Here’s a wonderful holiday idea, something that will perk up your home with a pungent orange spiciness, a bit of the holidays in a bowl. Give it as a hostess gift and make someone smile.



Christmas Potpourri
Makes 5 cups

4 navel oranges, or 6 satsuma easy-peel tangerines
1 lemon
1 lime
2 c whole cloves
5 T orange essential oil
2 T cinnamon essential oil
10 cinnamon sticks
1 c whole star anise
1 c miniature pinecones

  1. Peel the citrus fruits with a vegetable peeler, making wide strips in the longest lengths you can.
  2. Combine the essential oils in a small shallow bowl or saucer.
  3. Poke a few of the whole cloves into the citrus peels and dunk the peels into the oil, turning them over to fully coat. Hold the peels over the bowl to let excess oil drip back into the bowl.
  4. Put the dipped citrus peels into a large bowl and scatter the remaining cloves over them.
  5. Dunk the cinnamon sticks into the oil, letting the excess drip off, and add them to the bowl with the citrus peel.
  6. Finally, add the star anise then the pinecones to the oil, dunking each of them as with the citrus peel and cinnamon sticks.
  7. Toss these into the bowl and gently mix everything together.
  8. Place the bowl in a prominent location, preferably where people walk past to catch the scent, such as a front hall table or bathroom countertop.


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