||[Jan. 12th, 2008|03:58 pm]
Collection of Herbal Recipes
The cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg, cloves, and star anise that were on my altar for Yule have been divided in half, placed in water in the top vessel of a simmer pot, set over a tea light, and the peel from the tangerines in our stockings has been added. There's a pot simmering in the kitchen and one in the living room, and the whole house smells like oranges and spice.|
For the cost of a tealight, this is a wonderful way to freshen a room. I dry all, or most, of the herbs I grow, and it's fun trying combinations of them, and adding other things, to see what smells good. And occasionally, what smells not-so-good.
Lemon juice--or peel--combined with chopped tips of cedar twigs, or pine or balsam needles is amazingly fresh without being sweet or food-related. Lavender flowers and a few drops of vanilla extract is nice. As are lavender blooms and orange peel steeped together.
Those dried roses from your Valentine bouquet can be "reused": the petals alone, or the base of the bloom, the stamens within the petals, all can be steeped to release the fragrance. Rose and cinnamon, rose and cedar, or rose, star anise and chamomile all smell wonderful. Rosemary leaves with thyme or basil flowers is nice, with or without a drop of vanilla.
Citrus peel is simple to keep. You merely leave it out on paper towelling till it's dry enough to snap into smaller pieces, then pack it in a plastic bag or glass jar. I go ahead and mix mine with cinnamon sticks and cloves to store. I've kept mixtures this way, in dark, dry storage, for up to three years so far. I haven't found a satisfactory way of drying apple peel without using the oven or a dehydrator, and it doesn't add enough to a mixture of scents to make that effort worthwhile. But freshly removed apple and pear peel can be simmered with spices of your choice.
And using the smudging pot and screen,
we strew dried herbs over a tealight: lemongrass, rosemary, lemon verbena, sage, and others.
These are nice ways to add an evocative scent, or just freshen a room, without spending money on chemicals, sprays, or artificially scented products. Plus, it's fun!