There are a number of store-bought options for fragrant, decorative potpourri and synthetic air fresheners, however, they can irritate those with allergies to chemical and synthetic fragrances. A solution is to make your own potpourri with natural and locally sourced ingredients, so you can still have the colors and scents you love.
Many artificial fragrances are based on commonly found fresh fruits and flowers, so the best ingredients for homemade air fresheners are usually close at hand. The easiest ones to include are citrus scents such as orange and lemon, spicy cinnamon scents, and fresh herbal scents like lavender. All of these items are readily available in local supermarkets and many can be grown in your own garden, depending on your location. This cuts out the chemical and industrial processes used to manufacture air fresheners, making it a great sustainably sourced decoration for your home. For a festive flair, include deep reds and berries at Christmastime, or purples and greens in the spring.
I decided to make a spring-scented potpourri bowl with lavender, lime, chili, and cloves. This scent was fresh and clean, but had a hint of spice that made it an ideal scent for the kitchen.
Make Your Own Potpourri
You will need:
- lavender flowers
- one lime
- bay leaves
- whole cloves or whole cinnamon sticks
- dried chilies
- pine cones or star anise.
Slice the lime into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place them on a clean baking sheet, and put them in the oven on a very low heat (250°F) to dry them. This will take two or three hours. To make sure that they didn’t burn or discolor, try drying them in the oven until they are almost done, then leave them on top of a hot radiator to finish.
Divide your dried lavender flower heads into bunches. Use three flower heads in each bunch and tie them with a small piece of ribbon for decorative effect.
Place all the ingredients into a zip-top plastic bag, and seal it shut to allow the smells to infuse. If you prefer, you can add essential oils at this stage. Let it sit overnight.
In the morning, open the plastic bag and place the potpourri into an attractive bowl. Carefully arrange it to make the best use of the decorative ingredients. I put my potpourri on my kitchen worktop, where it could combat cooking odors.
What have you made for your home that was functional and pretty at the same time?
Image source: Wikimedia Commons