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ERIN SULLEY: Foodie fall smells

Say bye-bye to chemical filled fragrances and hello to homemade signature scents with natural ingredients. It’s healthier and is wonderful for people with scent allergies. – Paul Pickett photo
Say bye-bye to chemical-filled fragrances and hello to homemade signature scents with natural ingredients. It’s healthier and is wonderful for people with scent allergies. – Paul Pickett photo - Contributed

Bring fall scents into your home with natural ingredients

We may as well face the fact summer is officially shutting its doors in one week. I know. It’s very sad. Our summer takes forever to get here and never stays for as long as we want. However, I have to say, the small bit that we did get was absolutely wonderful. To keep this on a positive note, the end of summer is the start of one of my favourite seasons – autumn.

Think about it, autumn brings all sorts of delightful things. Dare I say it – the ever so popular flavour of pumpkin spice. There’s also outdoor fires, freshly cut wood and the turning of leaves.

One of the things I enjoy most is the smell of the crisp fresh air when out for a walk.  If that’s a smell you enjoy too, let’s explore some ideas on how to bottle up that fall scent to bring it inside the house.

Here’s the thing, food isn’t just for consumption. Oh no foodie friends, today we’re talking about homemade house potpourri using ingredients that you probably have lying around the house. Let’s discover some ideas by putting those items to good use.

First step, open the cupboard to see what you have on hand. You might be surprised by the results.
First step, open the cupboard to see what you have on hand. You might be surprised by the results.

My typical go-to is simmering cinnamon sticks. Mainly because it’s super easy and provides a comforting aroma inside the house. It will make you want to curl up in a comfy chair with a blanket, a delicious cup of tea and a good book. You want to know how super easy it is to make? Simply boil a small pot of water on the stove and put a few sticks inside and let simmer on low for as long as you want the scent to waft around the house. Make sure you check on the water as you may have to refill depending on how long you leave it simmering.

Ahhh… instant autumn aroma.

If you don’t like cinnamon, no prob! There are other ingredients you can use. How about apples, cloves, orange peels, anise spice, vanilla, coffee, almond extract, peppermint extract, cranberries, nutmeg or bay leaves? The ideas are endless. You can experiment with one ingredient or use several together. A good combo to start out is apple and cinnamon or oranges and cloves, they are two completely different yet familiar scents.

Put your ingredients in a small pot on the stove and let simmer. Can’t you just smell it now? Delicious and comforting all at the same time.
Put your ingredients in a small pot on the stove and let simmer. Can’t you just smell it now? Delicious and comforting all at the same time.

The great thing about homemade potpourri is that it isn’t a one-time use. Oh no!

When I said we’re going to bottle that scent up, I wasn’t joking. When done, pour the contents into a mason jar for future use. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Actually, it’s a great gift idea in general. How cool would it be to bottle little mason jars of homemade potpourri that serves as both a decorative feature for your Thanksgiving table and a take home gift for your guests? Genius. Ok, this idea just came to my head as I write this and I’m super excited to do it for Thanksgiving.

Oh yes! Bottle up that smell and put it on the dinner table for gusts to take home.
Oh yes! Bottle up that smell and put it on the dinner table for gusts to take home.

To take it a step further you can decorate the little bottles with twigs and dried herbs from the garden. I’m going to do a sample so I can take a picture and show you as soon as I’m done writing this column.

Another couple of side ideas for homemade potpourri: take your herbs from the garden and dry them by tying bunches together with string and hang them in the kitchen.

I plant flowers in my veggie garden every year to deter the bugs. At the end of the season, they serve another purpose. When they start to turn I take them inside, dry them out and make a floral display. 

There are other wonderfully positive benefits from making your own potpourri. Outside of the great smell, it is a much healthier option over perfume and chemically filled infusers or plug-ins etc. It’s especially great for people with asthma or strong allergies to chemically scented products. Making it yourself with natural ingredients means it is paraben free.

Whatever ingredients you choose to experiment with, I hope you enjoy to the fullest as homemade potpourri is fit to … smell? I was going to say fit to eat only because it smells delicious.

Erin Sulley is a self-confessed foodie who lives in Mount Pearl. Email erinmsulley@gmail.comTwitter: @ErinSulley Instagram: @erinsulley.


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