One of my favorite, favorite things to do during the holidays is make stove top potpourri.
Memories are so strongly linked to smells. One whiff of some whole cloves and orange peels, and I feel cheerful coziness wrap my heart up in Christmas memories. It’s the best!
This year, I figured…why not share this happy tradition with our neighbors?
Stovetop Potpourri in a jar…coming up! 🙂
I can’t figure out if I should put a space between stove and top…spell check says yes. I say no. So, you’ll see me waffle back and forth between those spellings because…meh. Doesn’t really matter. What matters is how magical your house is going to smell…or your neighbor’s house is going to smell after simmering a jar full of these pretties…
First things first. Print up the free printable label by clicking on the link below.stovetop-potpourri-printable Please note that these printables are for personal use only and are not to be copied, redistributed, or hosted on another site other than mine without written permission. 🙂
Then cut the labels out to fit your jar. You can trace circles and cut them with scissors, or use a circle cutter if you have one large enough.
They fit a wide mouth lid perfectly if you leave about 3/8″ white space around the outer rim of the label. For narrow neck lids, consider cutting them a little smaller and tying them to the jar with string (I show examples in pictures further down in this post).
Now for the recipes. There are THREE!
Sweet, festive, and really inexpensive if you have a pine tree in your yard. 😉 Or trim if from your Christmas tree.
You really can’t go thaaat wrong if you mess around with the recipe, so change it up and experiment if you like.
2 peppermint sticks (make sure it has peppermint oil in the ingredient list) + 2 sprigs of pine + 2 cinnamon sticks = one jar of potpourri
The next recipe creates a nice fresh scent, that is a little less holiday heavy.
You can substitute the cinnamon stick for a vanilla bean if you have one. It’s a versatile potpourri that nicely carries over into Spring.
1 sprig of fresh rosemary + 2 cinnamon sticks + peel of one lemon = one jar of potpourri
I used a small Meyer lemon, so it fits in a narrow 1/2 pint jar. You can also tie it to the top of a shallow jar, if that’s what you’re using.
Technically the recipe calls for lemon peel, but sliced lemon wedges work fine as well. It’s hard to mess up a stovetop potpourri recipe.
The last recipe is my favorite…
2 cinnamon sticks + 2 sprig of pine + 1 TBSP. of whole cloves + 1 whole nutmeg + 1/3 cup cranberries + 1 star anise pod + 1 orange = 1 jar of potpourri.
This recipe has a lot more ingredients, but it’s also super flexible. You can take out any part of the recipe and it will still smell great.
You can use powdered or grated nutmeg as well, if you can’t find it whole. If you don’t have an orange, use a lemon! It all works.
Make it all just spices even! Nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves…yum!
TIPS FOR BUYING SPICES:
I know that spices can get pretty expensive, especially when you are buying them fresh or whole.
– Check the bottom shelf for bulk containers of cinnamon sticks. I bought a large container of nice, fragrant cinnamon sticks at Walmart for $5.
– For whole star anise and whole nutmeg, I had to go to a health food store that sells spices by weight. Even then, it was only $1-2 for the amount of spices I needed (handful). If you can find a health food store, or whole foods type grocery store, it is likely they will have the spices you need for less than buying name brand bottles of it in a major chain.
– For fresh rosemary, buy the plant not the pre-cut bunch! They will most likely cost the same, but with the plant you can continually use it and trim sprigs from it. Rosemary winters well, so your local store may still be selling it in the produce section, or check your local nursery.
Cuties or clementines are the perfect orange for potpourri because the peels are very fragrant, and they are small enough to package up in a cute way.
To use the potpourri, simply put everything into a small pan, cover with water and simmer on low.
…and let the holiday memories seep in. 🙂
I kept the instructions simple on the label, so it would suit any kind of stove top potpourri. You could add words about peeling the citrus to the back of the label if you want, but it’s not really necessary. Whether they slice it or peel it…it will work great.
Happy merry making!
P.S. Here’s a download button for the label file in case you missed it:
what a fantastic neighbor gift idea – and beautiful photos, Delia!
Thank you Autumn!
Cant wait to make these, thx!! What size jars are you using here? & length of peppermint sticks? Thanks
These are wide mouth half pint jars and pint jars. The peppermint sticks are about 3-4 inches tall. You can always break them up or use star mints, if space is an issue. Have fun!:)
Those photos are gorgeous! Forget the neighbors… I want to make the last one for me!
When spell-check and I are having an argument about whether something is supposed to be one word or two I usually just add a dash… like top-stitching. Or stove-top. 😉
Delia, this is a wonderful idea! I’m simmering a pot on my stove right now. 😉 I’m also getting ingredients together to give to some of my friends and neighbors. I was wondering if you’d consider replacing the orange with orange extract? Just a few drops in the jar or on the cinnamon stick? Also, would powdered nutmeg be a bad idea? I can see it clumping or something, but I cannot find whole nutmeg for the life of me! I love the smell, though! Thanks for always having such affordable and fun ideas! I love reading your blog daily! Merry Christmas!
Good questions! You can totally add orange extract. I’m guessing that it will smell a little different but still good! Powdered nutmeg should work as well. The same goes for cinnamon and cloves. I would imagine all the spices would settle on the bottom anyway. It won’t be as pretty, but once it gets in the pot and starts simmering, it all looks the same anyway. You can also put them into a small vellum envelope if you want. Or maybe even a little sewn muslin bag? I hope that helps. Thank you for your thoughtful kind comment. I really appreciate it! Merry Christmas to you too Meg!
Carol Havig says
When I use dry seed or ground spices in any type of pickling or potpourri, I tie them in a small fine fabric making it like a small bag, like cheesecloth, or a fine fabric of any sort. Putting the spices in the fabric and tying them up with s string or cord of some sort and put in with the other items, keeps the spices together. I use colored twine for these when I want a decorative look. Not for pickling, however. Also, I prefer to add essential oils where I don’t have what I need in spices, even to replace lemon or orange. Use caution on the amount. Oil of lemon and oil of orange work great as replacements, I would imagine, in place of the fruit.
Also, love using the very small electric pots!
Here’s to awesome gifting!
Those are great ideas. Thank you for sharing.
does it work for just as long as it’s on the stove? Or do you store it cooked in a jar with the lid off? Never heard of stove-top pot pouri before?!
Hi Sarah! Yes. So you just let it warm on your stove in a small pan of water. You can also use a mini crock pot. Turn it on and off as needed (don’t let it stay on overnight if you are putting it on the stove). After a few days, the smell will start to dissipate and the ingredients will turn muddy. That’s when it’s time to discard it. I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions.
So excited to give these as gifts this year! I can’t for the life of me find whole star anise though, about how much of anise seed do you think would be appropriate? I’ve never used it before and I don’t want to overdo it. Thoughts? Thanks!
Good question! Star anise is very potent. You really only need one or two per jar. If you can’t find it, cloves are fragrant enough on their own as well, so you don’t really *need* it. I hope that helps! 🙂
You mentioned using pine, but the photos look like fir trees, not pine. Does it matter? Could you use either?
Any kind of fragrant evergreen tree needles should work.
We are excited to make these at an upcoming MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) Meeting. Great Idea!
Tung Nguyen says
OMG I love this idea so much 🙂 I also agree with beautiful images 🙂
One question further: Where did you buy the jars? They look really lovely. Thank you.
Thank you! I bought my jars at Target in the mason jar/ canning jar section.
Delia, which size of the jar did you buy? I check on the web, there are so many different size of the mason jar, which make me a bit confused. Thanks.
Oh, sorry about that. I bought them in store so they could only be available from Target in stores. These are close: http://www.target.com/p/ball-1-pint-16-oz-glass-canning-jars-set-of-4/-/A-12911522#prodSlot=medium_1_17&term=mason+jar
They are a bit taller/bigger but are the same wide mouth design.
These ones from Amazon cost more but they are the size I used, if you need to get them online:
(That’s an affiliate link.)
I hope that helps! 🙂
nicole drew says
i wanted to make a bunch of these for my coworkers. i’m wondering how long in advanced i can do it with the fresh cranberries. do you know how long they will stay nice being out of the fridge?
Good question. That really depends on the freshness of your cranberries. They could last up to a couple of weeks+ if you know that they are really fresh. You will want include how long they may hang onto it before they use it though…so maybe factor in an extra few days to a week for that.
Kara G says
Love this idea! Making them for Christmas this year 🙂
How far in advance would you suggest making them? I don’t want to cut my Rosemary too soon and then have them wilt…or the lemons go bad etc.
Great idea – thank you!!
Good question! Rosemary is generally pretty hardy and lemons last a while. That said, I personally wouldn’t wait more than a few days before gifting them, in case the recipient decides not to use it right away. Does that help?
could you use dried items ,will it smell the same , like can i dry the orange slices and cran berries and hang to dry and add them and would that work??
Good question! I am not really sure because I have never tried it, but I don’t see why not. The smell might vary from fresh ingredients and it won’t look as pretty in the pan, but I think it would still smell festive and pleasantly fragrant.
Another good place for whole spices is the imported food supermarket. I went there for nutmeg to make my own stovetop potpourri recipe last month and there were bags of 5 of them for about $1.30. I bought two bags and cut them in half with a big sharp knife to make about 20 little baggies of potpourri for co-workers. I sometimes add star anise but forgot this time – too bad, it does add a nice scent! I also put in crystallized ginger.
Great tip! Thank you!
Can’t wait to try it thanks for the idea.
Stephanie Erwin says
Do you only use the orange peels or slice the entire orange ?
Thank you !
You can do either. I like to just use the peels sometimes so I can eat the orange. 😉 Most of the aroma is in the peels anyway.
I was wondering if you could use powdered cinnamon and powdered cloves instead?
Totally! It’s just maybe not as “pretty” but it actually releases the smells even better.
All of these recipes sound absolutely wonderful and I am definitely looking forward to potentially trying one out! Probably the lemon one, as I love the smell of lemon and simmering it with cinnamon would just be heavenly. I was just wondering, as an extreme newbie to potpurri (I’ve never made it in my life), after you simmer it on the stovetop do you just pour it into a bowl and display it that way? Or is it just to freshen up the kitchen? I just bought a small clay bowl for my room and was thinking about making potpurri as a natural fragrance to keep it fresh 🙂
Great question! Once you’re done simmering it, you just discard it. It is mostly to freshen up the kitchen. I recommend dried potpourri for your clay dish. I imagine you’d need to infuse it with essential oils to get it to have a potent enough fragrance. Best of luck sorting it out! <3
I used to do this all the time. I used cinnamon, cloves and orange peel. It has been several years since I did this.
Adding the pine or rosemary to the mix is a plus. Giving as a gift is a nice idea. Thank you for this article.
It does bring back memories of the holiday season.
This will make your house smell great.
Julie Strickland says
Thank you so much for all these great idea’s–I look forward to making them for gifts this season–the pictures were all so pretty and descriptive ..I copied them to keep for reference. Blessings to you !!
Can I keep these in the fridge to keep fresh?
I used fresh greens and cranberries ..
Yes, definitely! If there is any cut fruit, it will only keep for a few days. The other ingredients should keep for much longer than that if kept cold.
I was wondering if you can use powdered cinnamon and cloves? Also, can you add rosemary and peppermints to the holiday mix? Smells heavenly!
Yep! And yes, you can add peppermints. I’m not sure I would add rosemary to the holiday mix, but I have never tried it! Maybe do a test simmer in your own home and see if you like the scent before you add them to your gifts.
Marta Klemens says
This is really great!! Love the idea!! Thanks so much!
I have one question, im not sure if someone already asked.
How long do you simmer this on the stove? as long as you want?
Can you reuse it after simmering it once already?
Great question Marta! You can simmer this over a day or two or until it is not as fragrant anymore. When the liquid evaporates more than halfway, add more and just keep simmering. I just leave it in the pot on the back of my stove in between simmer sessions and refresh it with a dash of cinnamon on the second day. I suppose you could put in the fridge in between simmers to help it last longer too (the fruit starts to rot if left out too long).
Marta Klemens says
Great! Thanks so much 🙂
Kimberly Aldridge says
My son needs to make a craft to sell for an event at his school and donate the proceeds to a charity of his choice. I think these jars would be something that he could help with and it not just be something that mom made. I wanted ask for your permission to use your labels and maybe print the image of the pot simmering?
Of course! I would love to help support his event in this way. I wish him all the best in his business venture.
How large do the little jars need to be? Are the smallest baby food jars too small?
All the jars in my post are 8 oz. You could go smaller and then omit the citrus. The great thing about this project is that you can make them whatever size suits you, since the spices take up very little space. You may have to cut down the cinnamon sticks or use powder instead. The recipes are really flexible. I hope that helps.
Cailin Andreas says
Can I peel the orange and put the peels in the jar? Will it stay fresh?
You can! If you are going to deliver them right away you could peel them fresh. If you think it won’t be used for a while, drying orange slices or the orange peels first, might be better.
Hi, Love these!! Are all 3 recipes stove top or just the last one?
Thank you! They are all stove top recipes.
Making these for co-workers.
These look lovely, I want to create some! how do I get the printable labels?
Thanks! There should be a link to a google file, but I decided to update the post and host the file on my site to make things easier. There should be a download button that will allow you to get the pdf file now.
Is the amount in the small jars here enough to really create a strong fragrance, or do you recommend using normal sized mason jars for more ingredients?
It is! It’s only enough for one small pot of stove top potpourri but it makes a good impact.