Do you want to preserve the roses from your wedding bouquet forever? Or are you looking for ways to conserve precious garden flowers that you could cherish later, even when the flowers wither away at the end of the growing season? Well, you can do all of this and a lot more by simply drying the delicate flower petals and fragrant fruit rinds to create a perfumed homemade potpourri! If you don’t know what a potpourri is or if you are looking for ways to deodorize your home without spending a penny, then this blog is for you. Read the blog till the end as we will also be sharing some tips on how to make a potpourri that doesn’t get any mold.
First things first, let us tell you how you can preserve rose petals.
How to Dry Rose Petals
In order to preserve the blushing roses in your garden and make something useful out of it, try these rose petal drying methods. As a general rule of thumb, choose some of the biggest, brightest and the most fragrant roses out of your rose bush in the garden so that when they get dried, they retain their attractive colour and sweet scent – which are important elements of a potpourri. There are five different ways of drying rose petals effectively. Let’s take a look.
Air dry rose petals: One of the natural ways of drying rose petals is to air dry them. It is quite simple and easy. Place the rose petals on a net or a screen and space them out evenly. No two rose petals should overlap each other. Keep them at a well-ventilated spot, which receives some sunlight during the day. Turn the petals so that each side is dried properly. Any petal that is drying out should be carefully picked and stored in a container.
Dehydrate the petals: Use a dehydrator to dry rose petals. Place these rose petals across your dehydrator rack. Adjust the dehydrator rack to its lowest possible setting. The time required for the rose petals to dry up depends upon the machine you are using. Check the petals regularly in case they get burnt and keep changing sides unless they are completely dry.
In the oven: The oven you have at home is the perfect place for drying rose petals at home. Use a baking tray and space out the rose petals evenly. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and place the baking tray inside the oven. Roast the petals for 10-20 minutes. Keep checking in between and turn off the oven when you see that the petals are now crisp. You can also use the microwave oven to dehydrate the rose petals. Take some paper towels and space out the petals. Place it on a microwave-safe plate or dish. Cover the petals with paper towels and keep the plate inside the microwave. After 30 seconds, take them out and they are ready to be used in the potpourri!
Freeze dry: You can also freeze dry them which can extract all the moisture from the petals. But remember to store them in airtight containers so that no moisture can go inside the jars.
Keep them in a book: This one is popular among book-lovers. Keep the petals inside the pages of a book. It will take some time when the petals are completely dry. However, they would be more fragrant than other methods mentioned above.
Homemade Potpourri Ingredients
There are quite a few ingredients that go into a homemade potpourri. You must choose the right kind of flowers like calendula, larkspur, geraniums and roses. These flowers can hold onto their original colour while also retaining their fragrance. Your potpourri would look attractive and fragrant. For some chunky addition, place some seed pods like pine cones. Use dried berries and if you want to place some leaves, then go for a thicker variety.
If you want to add dried fruit to the potpourri, then cut out 1/8 inch orange, apple or lemon slices. Place them on a wire rack. Heat them on 200 degrees for about 2 hours until they are completely dry. You can turn the slices every half an hour.
Want to add some interest to your potpourri? Visit your local store, buy some colourful pebbles, patchouli or sandalwood chips for a striking potpourri mix.
Homemade Potpourri Recipe
Never use metal bowls or utensils when making homemade potpourri. The reaction from these metals can affect the fragrance of your potpourri. Use glass, ceramic and wood which are the safest materials to make homemade potpourri. You can even use plastic, but remember the smell will linger on in the container for weeks and you won’t be able to use the container for anything else.
Take a suitable container and mix all the dried fruit berries, citrus slices and rose petals. If you are making it for the winter season, then you can even add cinnamon sticks for some spicy potpourri. Keep these dry ingredients separately and work on the scent for the potpourri.
No matter how fine your essential oil is, it could lose its perfumed scent in a few days if you do not add any fixative to the potpourri mix. Orris root powder, vetiver root and oakmoss are some of the commonly used fixatives. You can easily buy them from local stores. Once you have bought the fixative, you should now decide which essential oil you will include in the potpourri recipe mix. Floral, woodsy or fruity? Decide on the scent and add the essential oils accordingly. A few drops of lavender, rose or geranium oil can infuse floral scent into the potpourri recipe. You can add cinnamon or patchouli for a woodsy scent or if you like citrus, then grapefruit, orange, tangerine essential oils work wonders.
The easiest method of making the batch of homemade potpourri is to add a few drops of essential oil and mix it to the fixative. Cover and set aside for three to five days and let the fragrances do their magic. Stir in the mix of dry ingredients, add a few more drops of the essential oil and cover it for about a month to help the fragrances get infused completely. Keep checking occasionally and make sure the scent is super strong, because it is quite likely that the scent will diminish with time.
How to Store Potpourri
Keep the freshly mixed potpourri in fabric bags (you can stitch them on your own) or make net sachets or bags and store them safely in it. You can also keep them in bowls in different places around the house.
Where to Use Potpourri at Home
Once you have made this sweet-smelling fragrant and colourful potpourri, you would want to show it off. Place it in bowls and keep it in the drawing room or on your coffee table in the study. The natural aromas from the dried flowers, fruits and spices can make your room instantly perfumed.
You can even keep your potpourri in small plastic ziplock bags and hang them at unexpected places such as on the showerhead or on the soap dish above your bathtub. The steam from the hot bath will enhance the scent. One of the common uses of potpourri is to keep them tucked inside drawers and closets where you hang your clothes. So, when you take them out it is like walking in a floral garden – the fragrance will transport you in another world.
Remember even if you use the best of essential oils and the most fragrant flowers like dried rose petals you will need to freshen up after a month or so, when you feel the scent is diminishing. To revive the lost scent in potpourri, add in a few drops of the same essential oil that you used in the first place.
This was perhaps the easiest method of making your own potpourri at home.
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