Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Fragrance of Fall


the year's last,

loveliest smile.

- William Cullen Bryant

In the fall and winter months, we enjoyed creating our own simmering potpourri. My sons liked to experiment with fruit peels and spices and compare them. We saved the peels from apples and oranges and lemons and blended them with sweet spices or dried herbs. Then we added boiling water to the mixture and kept it warm, either over a candle, or on the stove on "simmer," or in a mini-crockpot.

Our favorite recipe was:

Apple Peels from 1 or 2 apples
Orange Peel from 1 orange
1 tablespoon cinnamon or 6-8 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves or 1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups of boiling water

Even very young children can have a delightful time measuring and smelling the separate ingredients and mixing them together. After making the potpourri, we made tea with the rest of the hot water in the kettle. We put a slice of orange in the top of each cup and used a cinnamon stick to stir it. Then we read a book together. One of our favorite fall reads was the story by A.A. Milne of Winnie-the-Pooh and the Blustery Day.

As my children grew older, our reading naturally became more sophisticated. But we still enjoyed the smell our homemade potpourri filling the house in the first week of October and the comforts of spiced tea against the brisk, nippy winds rattling our windows.


  1. COOL, I am gonna have to try this :) Thank you.

    I love to slow boil apples and spices on the stove :)

  2. This is lovely! I'm going to try it...I love reading about the things you did to make your home warm and a good place to be. My own children are growing up too quickly, even on the tough days.

  3. Thanks for posting this on The Homeschool Lounge. I'm definitely going to try it.


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