Entertaining at Christmas has to be one of my favourite things in the world. Having said that, I’m conscious about plastics, toxins and waste. So instead of doing traditional Christmas crackers, with useless fillers that end up in the garbage, I prefer to do a ‘bon bon gift’. At our recent annual Girls Christmas Dinner, I decided to do these Stovetop Potpourri after I saw a post on Chloe from Boxwood Avenue’s website for her Homemade Stove Top Potpourri a year ago. It’s such a lovely idea, but also looks so gorgeous on the table.
It’s basically a simple mason jar filled with dried ingredients, that you simmer in a pot of water which then fills the air with all the familiar and nostalgic scents of Christmas. So beautiful, so simple and very inexpensive! Mine cost me around $6-7 each to make. You can also see my other version of a Christmas ‘bon bon gift’ that I did two years ago here. Jars of lollies wrapped in a linen napkin with ribbon. Beautiful, festive and so much less wasteful.
You can follow Chloe’s instructions here or follow my version below. I used 500ml / 16 oz jars whereas Chloe’s were half the size of mine.
To make these you’ll need:
- OVEN or DEHYDRATER. We bought a dehydrater years ago as we often make our own beef jerky or dried fruit.
- GLASS JAR or container (with a lid). My mason jars were $2.5 each from Barbara’s Storehouse in Mittagong.
- CITRUS/FRUIT (seasonal fruits like citrus, apple, pears, persimmons, cranberries). I bought a 500g bag of dried cranberries and dried the oranges myself.
- SPICES (whole) like cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves.
- HERBS like thyme or rosemary.
- TWINE/string or ribbon.
- Optional: small gift tags or labels.
When I’m entertaining, I always get produce from either Harris Farm in Bowral or our local fruit & veg grocer in Robertson, to get the best quality and freshest ingredients possible. However, most of these ingredients you might already have in your pantry, or can get from any local supermarket.
For my potpourri, I used fresh organic oranges (because the kids also love to eat dried oranges), dried cranberries, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves – all from Harris Farm. I then dehydrated some fresh rosemary and thyme from my backyard.
- I dried the oranges in the dehydrater on 70 degrees C. which took about 6 hours. It’s super important to make sure your ingredients are fully dried so mold doesn’t grow.
- For the rosemary, it only took about 1-2 hours in the dehydrater, but you could easily pick your rosemary a few days before and let it dry naturally, or dry them in the oven (50 degrees).
- Once all your ingredients are dried, you just fill up your jars. Quantity will depend on how many you’re doing and how big your jar is. I was filling 8 x 500ml / 16oz jars, and for each jar I used.
- 3-4 cinnamon sticks,
- 3 slices of dried orange,
- a handful of dried cranberries (about 15-20),
- 4-6 dried sticks of rosemary,
- a few dried strands of thyme,
- 3 star anise,
- a small handful of cloves (5-6).
Once you’ve filled your jars, put the lid on tight and then wrap some twine or ribbon around the neck with a cinnamon stick, and tie it up. DONE!
TO USE your stovetop potpourri, tip the contents into a pot on the stove filled with water and simmer for a few hours. It can last up to 3-4 days and you just top up your water once it gets a bit low. The ingredients don’t look as pretty the next day, but should still smell amazing!
So pretty, so thoughtful and the jars can be re-used for jam or storage, and the ingredients all go back to nature!