Monday, December 29, 2014

Stovetop Potpourri

I hope that you all were able to enjoy celebrating the birth of Christ last week.  I feel a bit guilty about not writing a Christmas post like I have done over the last couple of years, but there just wasn't time.  This year, my school was still in session on the 23rd, and I barely had enough time to get our traditional candies and cookies made before Christmas, let alone have time to blog.

Anyway, many of you who read this post will undoubtedly have a "Well, duh!" reaction to its content.  To tell the truth, I'm having a "Well, duh!" reaction to my own ignorance.  Before I get too hard on myself, though, let me explain a couple of things: 1) My mother does not like home fragrances, air fresheners, potpourris, or perfumes of any kind.  They give her a headache, so I was raised in a home with unscented everything, and I, too, don't much care for overly scented things.  2) Nancy and I are not made of money, so while I believe we still spend too much in some areas of our lives, we try to avoid unnecessary expenses where we can.  Thus, air fresheners, potpourri, and Scentsy pots are not part of the regular housekeeping expenses here.

When we went to Nancy's parents' home (five miles away) for Christmas with that side of the family on December 26th, Nancy's sister Susan had put a little pot of things on the stove that looked like it was definitely not going to be a part of the Christmas dinner menu.  Since no pot of stuff on a stove may go undiscussed in my presence, I inquired as to what it was that I was looking at.  Susan explained that it was a pot of "stovetop potpourri," the recipe for which someone had found on Pinterest and which had become popular among the people she knows in her hometown.

"Turn it on and let it simmer," she said.

I did.  It smelled divine.  Nancy liked it, too.  I asked for the recipe.

We bought a new bag of cranberries the next day--we already had everything else--and Nancy remarks multiple times per day how much she enjoys the scent of this simmering on the stove.

Now see, I would never have thought about using a wood cookstove as a potpourri warmer, but I have to say that I think a cookstove is the perfect appliance for it for several reasons.  For one thing, the stove is going to be going anyway, so there is no added energy expense--which would have absolutely prevented me from doing this sort of thing on a gas or electric stove.  Also, I think that candles actually provide a greater fire hazard than a wood cookstove.

Here is the recipe:

1 orange, sliced
1/2 c. or so whole cranberries
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
2 cups of water

Let this simmer on the stove indefinitely.  As the water steams away, add more.  You can use this as long as you are happy with the intensity of the aroma.  Our first batch has been sitting on the side of the range for three days now, and it still smells great.

The potpourri simmering on the side of the Margin Gem.

A quick peek at Pinterest revealed that there are many, many recipes for this sort of thing.  This particular combination (which smells just like expensive candles or bags of dry potpourri) is considered a "holiday scent," but Pinterest has many recipes for stovetop potpourri for different times of the year.  I bet this isn't the only recipe that we will have simmering on the stove over the next few months of constant winter firing!


  1. I do this on my woodstove-but never thought of using cranberries-thanks

  2. "Since no pot of stuff on a stove may go undiscussed in my presence..." I don't know why, but this really made me laugh! Thanks ! :-)

  3. I do this as well, for years but I make small bags out of muslin and put it right inside my tea kettle, the one I use to put moisture in the air ... kind kills to birds that way. When I change the water and clean the kettle weekly, I through in another new bag full and discard the old and wash the bag.
    Smells so nice all winter long. Happy New Year!

    1. That's a great idea for humidifying teakettles, Teri. Thanks for the info.

  4. I'll swap a simmering scent recipe with you. Never thought about adding cranberries ..

    1. Thanks, Mrs. Mac. It looks good; I'm sure we'll try it sometime.

  5. I used cinnamon and frankincense essential oils and fennel seed, to get a really nice scent. (I can't take perfume scents at all. So the natural smells make the house smell wonderful and don't make me cough or wheeze.)

    1. Sounds like another great idea. I agree that the natural scents are a lot easier to take. Thanks for commenting!