Gifts from the kitchen are easy and inexpensive to make and are always welcome during the holidays.
Sachets and potpourri make beautiful and aromatic Christmas gifts. They can be fashioned from a variety of herbs and potpourri, and are simple to make. Bath sachets can be put directly into the tub or tied to the faucet so that the hot water passes through the herbal mixture as the bath is drawn.
Sachet bags also may be placed inside clothes drawers, tucked into the corners of couches or armchairs, or placed inside of closets to freshen up a closed space.
Any number of creative and inexpensive combinations may be used to make potpourri. Spices, flowers, essential oils, your favorite perfume, dried herbs and citrus peels all make a wonderful potpourri.
Using a fixative — such as a tincture of benzoin, styrax or orris root — will extend the life of the perfume and ingredients. Most fixatives can be purchased at craft stores or ordered online.
These easy-to-make recipes for bath sachets, potpourri and an herbal rubbing lotion will be fragrant reminders long after Christmas is over. Remember, gifts from the heart are part of the true meaning of Christmas. Have a happy holiday season!
2 cups dried herbs (lavender, sage, rosemary, pennyroyal, lemon verbena, chamomile, thyme or mint — alone or in any combination)
8 (4-inch) squares of cheesecloth or cotton (8 small decorative handkerchiefs also work well)
8 (12-inch) lengths of ribbon or lace
- Place the herbs in a plastic bag. Roll a rolling pin back and forth over the herbs until they are slightly crushed. Place 1/4 cup of the dried herbs in the center of the cloth square.
- Gather the square in a pouf and knot a piece of ribbon or lace around the neck of the pouf to secure the herbs. Make ribbon or lace into a bow, leaving the ends long enough to tie the bath sachet to a faucet. Makes 8 bath sachets.
ROSE PETAL POTPOURRI
3 cups dried rose petals
2 cups dried lavender
1 cup dried lemon verbena
1 tablespoon dried lemon peel
1 tablespoon allspice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cloves
- In a large jar, combine the rose petals and lavender. In a medium bowl, mix the lemon verbena, lemon peel, allspice, cinnamon and cloves. Pour the lemon mixture into the jar containing the rose petals and lavender.
- Cover jar tightly and shake ingredients. Let potpourri stand for 2 to 3 weeks, shaking mixture frequently to combine the scents.
To give as gifts:
8 small drawstring bags or 8 (4-inch) squares of cheesecloth or cotton (8 small handkerchiefs work well)
8 (12-inch) lengths of ribbon or lace
Place the potpourri in a decorative bag with a drawstring, or to make a sachet, place 1/4 cup of the potpourri in the center of a cloth square. Gather the square in a pouf and knot a piece of ribbon or lace around the neck of the pouf to secure the potpourri. Make the ribbon or the lace into a bow. Makes 6 cups.
HERBAL RUBBING LOTION
This is refreshing herbal lotion is a wonderful pick-me-up for sore muscles and tired minds at the end of a long day. The herbs also give the rubbing alcohol a pleasant fragrance. The herbs may be obtained from grocery stores or online sources. You also can purchase decorative bottles online or from craft stores.
1 cup fresh lavender leaves
1/4 cup lemon verbena
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup rosemary sprigs
2 cups unscented rubbing alcohol
- Place the herbs in a plastic bag. Roll a rolling pin back and forth over the herbs until they are slightly crushed to release the oils and fragrance.
- Place herbs in a glass jar that has been sterilized by boiling. Add the rubbing alcohol. Cover tightly and label the jar NOT TO BE USED INTERNALLY. Set aside in a cool, dry place for 5 to 7 days. Strain the alcohol through several layers of cheesecloth into pretty jars or bottles.
- Cap tightly and label bottles or jars, NOT TO BE USED INTERNALLY. Tie a pretty bow around the bottles or jars, if desired. Makes 2 cups rubbing lotion.
Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her new cookbook is “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” Her website is www.divapro.com. To see how-to videos, recipes and much, much more, Like Angela Shelf Medearis, The Kitchen Diva! on Facebook. Recipes may not be reprinted without permission from Angela Shelf Medearis.
© 2020 King Features Synd., Inc., and Angela Shelf Medearis