Since medieval times, fragrance has been a treasure in many societies. We all love having our households, not only smelling fresh but also sweet, with distinct unique aromas. In modern times, we have sprays and perfumes that impart the specific scents we want. However, they are not really natural and do not last long, typically not more than a day. Hence, it is crucial to know how to create a portion of organic fragrant potpourri to fill the air around your house.
Potpourri is made from a mixture of dried scented flowers and leaves whose combined aroma gives the pleasing, ‘oh so good’ smell. It is a nice, cost-effective and long-lasting solution to air your dwelling with nice smelling air. There are even recipes for potpourri that can ward off flies.
Ingredients for Your Potpourri
Scented flowers, petals or leaves
Fragrant barks, roots or woods
Fixatives – orris root, citrus fruit peels work best
You’ll also need:
Display container, especially glassware
Mixing and curing bowls, approximately three
A small hammer to pound the mixture.
The Dry Method
The dry method is the simplest one for making potpourri. The petals are collected and dried till crisp. The spices and fixatives are then ground together in a separate bowl into a fine powder mixture. The fixatives work to fix the scents away from the petals into the other mixture so the scent is more evident. Add some drops of essential oil to the dry plant matter. Then add the spice mixture to the oil mixture and mix again. Finally, add all the other dry ingredients into the same bowl and mix everything together in a bid to let out the scent.
After the agitation, close the bowl and keep the mixture in a cool, dark and dry place to cure for about four to eight weeks. Afterward, allow the aroma of the potpourri to waft across your dwelling.
The Wet Method
You only need partially dried petals for this procedure. Place a layer of partially dried petals and leaves in a jar. Proceed to sprinkle some salt. Then lay a layer of petals again and sprinkle some sugar, salt and a few drops of fragrant essential oil. Repeat this step until you fill the container.
You can then close the lid, then place in a cool, dark and dry place to allow the mixture to cure for about two months, after which you will be required to drain out the excess liquid. Add the fixatives, spices, and oils, mix the whole mixture then leave to cure again for a month.
The moist method produces potpourri that might not be pleasant-looking, but at the same time, it produces the strongest most intensive flavors of aroma. This type can last for very much longer than using the dry method.
Reviving Old or Non-Fragrant Potpourri
Add a few drops of essential oil – the oil acts to dissolve out any remaining fragrance so you can smell it more. It also energizes the mixture.
Mix – if the scent dries down, mix again all the ingredients in the bowl and the smell will come back.
Use Vodka – Vodka can help to keep scents longer since vodka will dissolve out any other fragrance for you to smell.
Remove dust from your potpourri if you want to keep it smelling fresh- put the potpourri in a sealable bag, then make holes on the side and shake. Accumulated dust should fall out leaving your potpourri clean as new.
If the potpourri fails to perform, use a spray with perfume so that the perfume can rejuvenate your mixture keeping it as good as new.
Secrets for an Aromatic Potpourri
Especially when winter is near, you want to have as many varieties of nice smelling flowers, leaves, and barks you can get. A wide variety means a wider range of flavors hence the more your place is going to smell better.
Fixatives – these important ingredients help in fixing the scents. Scents are normally locked in the petals so a fixative will likely bind to the scent-producing compounds so that it can remove them from the petal containing them. The stronger fixatives you use the better overall fragrance you attain and the shorter the curing time.
Blending – sometimes it is good to blend all the flavors together so you have one flowing nice aroma. Having different harsh aromas will irritate you and anyone likely to visit you. Blending aromas is an art. Perfect the art and you have the most arousing aromas in your house.
Charcoal briquette – add a charcoal briquette into your mixture during preparation. This briquette aids in absorbing any foul smell or liquids that might emanate from the whole solution. You are then sure of having a pure sample of good potpourri.
Add some nuts to the mixture; they improve the scent a lot.
Add more oil to the mixture if possible, especially high-quality fragrance oil, the more you add, the better the scent.
Autumn might be the best flower picking season, so utilize it for your potpourri while it lasts.
If the appearance of the potpourri is of importance, keep it out of direct bright sunlight which might bleach or fade it really fast.
Avoid using metal containers which might evoke an unwanted reaction thereby bringing up unwanted scents or diminishing the strength of the potpourri scent. Use glass, plastic or ceramics.
Make sure to keep potpourri away from children or pets, who may be tempted to eat it. It might be toxic, so keep it away from them.
Be sure to check for mold when the potpourri is curing. The whole mixture should be in a dark dry place.
When your potpourri cures you can use it in myriad ways. Like stuffing pillows with it, so your house always smells of the potpourri. Or put it in muslin bags and scent your bath with it.
Have fun exploring with your own blend of potpourri ingredients. Transform your home into this unforgettable place. A place with homely scents that your guests will forever remember.
The way we clean, cook and decorate our homes has changed a lot over the decades. Improvements in home technology have made housekeeping a breeze and not the hard work that homeowners of the past had to endure through manual means. However, there are still some things that never change and have been done in homes for over a century now. Technology hasn’t quite managed to do away with some old-fashioned housekeeping methods.
Some of these ancient housekeeping methods that still work and why they work are as follows:-
The Use Of Baking Soda
For centuries nothing could beat baking soda for gentle cleaning, odor removal, and baking. This powder is not expensive and you can find it in the baking and cleaning section of your grocery store. Baking cannot be complete without baking soda and the cookies and cakes won’t look so yummy and soft without it. When it comes to removing stains from coffee mugs, making glassware brighter, removing stains from the sink, bathtub and oven, the baking soda rules and has been doing so for more than a century to date.
To remove odors, all you need to do is sprinkle some on your carpeting or inside your dishwasher to remove odors. You could also place an open jar of baking soda in your freezer, refrigerator or closet to absorb any unpleasant odors.
The Use Of Lemons
The origin of the lemon plant isn’t exactly clear but it is well known for its medicinal value and has been known to treat conditions like scurvy. For decades now the lemon has been used in cooking, baking, and cleaning. The lemon peels can be grated and used to add lemon flavor in cakes. You can also use the lemon peel as an odor sapper in your garbage disposal can, and you will feel a better refreshing lemon scent in the place of the garbage smell.
Lemon can also be used to brighten kitchen pots and remove stains. It can also be used to deodorize the inside of a microwave and remove caked-on spills. Greasy pots shouldn’t worry you if you have no detergent; squeezed lemon juice will do the magic. The juice has also been used as wood furniture polish thanks to its antibacterial and insecticide qualities. To keep your kitchen counters sanitized you can also consider running a cloth dipped in lemon juice over them.
Use of Vinegar
Vinegar has been used in homes throughout history dating back 3000BCE. It was mainly used to fight bacteria and therefore mainly for food preservation, cleaning, food enhancer and for medicinal purposes. There are many varieties of vinegar, fruit, rice, cane, wine and many others. Most people use it to sanitize kitchens and dining areas, remove odors and any oily or sticky residues in kitchen utensils and surfaces around the home including floors. Since vinegar is acidic and has been known to leave marks on a surface like marble it is, therefore, advisable to use distilled white vinegar for cleaning surfaces.
The Use of Salt
Sodium chloride which is known as salt was in ancient times used as the main method of food preservation. It has been a prized possession for centuries and there was a time that even that soldiers in ancient Rome were paid in salt. There are many expressions surrounding the word salt such as “salt of the earth”, “worth your weight in salt”, “take it with a pinch of salt” and many others, which goes to show just how popular the salt was and still is today as one of those timeless old-fashioned housekeeping ingredients.
At home, salt has for centuries been used to battle grime or grease and stains. It is naturally absorbent which is why it has been used to clean stains on fabrics. Today people use it to melt ice, remove perspiration stains in the wash load, remove lime buildup in the sink area. Copper pots can also sparkle thanks to salt and half a lemon.
It has also been used to deter ants and it does its job perfectly especially when a home has been infested with ants. Lastly, salt has been used to add taste in food since forever and today, it is a major ingredient in most cooked foods.
Recycling & Reusing
Recycling and reusing leftovers hasn’t started today. Today we are lucky to have the refrigerator to help us store leftovers. The people of the past used natural food preservation methods to store leftovers. The meat was dried in the sun or sprinkled with salt. Victorian households surprisingly had no food wastage. The household bought only what it needed and most people worked with their hands when it came to cooking, cleaning, sewing and mending. Clothes were repurposed and an adult outfit could be trimmed down to make a child’s outfit. People possessed only what they needed and hardly had extras, except maybe the aristocrats.
People saved old linens, towels, and clothing for use as cleaning rags. Today some people use old toothbrushes to clean the difficult-to-reach areas of the home and newspapers to clean windows. There is now no doubt that this recycling and reusing didn’t just begin today.
6. The Use Of Oils And Fats
Our ancestors used animal parts for all sorts of household uses. Animal fat was used to light homes until when natural gas and then electricity came. Animal fat was used to seal containers, make soap and protect clothing from water among many other uses. Olive oil and coconut oil was also used then to smoothen the hair, cook and for medicinal purposes.
Today we use oils and fats for cooking, baking, lubricating hinges and other places that require it, cleaning sticky surfaces and a lot more. Oils and fats have also been used as ingredients in major store-bought household substances that we use daily at home.
In the past sewing was popular and people actually learned to do so at an early age. A little girl could sew her own button when it came off because she learned. Today many people dispose of their clothes when they get damaged and a majority don’t know how to sew. However, there is still a good number of households where sewing takes place. Others would love to do it by hand, while others do it using sewing machines. With portable sewing machines available, sewing has become easier and more people are beginning to do minor repairs on their clothing.
Old-fashioned housekeeping practices still continue to this day as seen above. Some of these practices will never die out even when home technologies continue advancing because they are very effective.