Rotten pot--that's what potpourri means. Originally, to make potpourri, bruised rose petals were covered with salt and sealed in a jar. Once opened, the long lasting scent of roses filled the air. Potpourri is now made with flowers, plants, seeds, roots and stems. Adding dried fruit to a potpourri mix creates an aromatic variety of scents. The process of making potpourri requires three parts; the fixative, fragrance and filler.
Collect the skins from oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, lemons, limes and any other citrus after eating the fruit. Remove the membrane from the skin (peel) and cut into pieces about the width of a toothpick. Spread the peels onto a baking tray or onto paper. Leave in a dry, warm area for approximately three days.
Use a dehydrator as an alternative method. The general guidelines for a dehydrator are to place thinly sliced fruits evenly on the tray shelves. You then stack the trays and plug in the dehydrator. Read the instructions for specific drying times. A tip from Holistic Mama is to move the trays to different levels every hour or so to ensure even drying. Flipping the fruit peels over at the same time so the fruit does not burn is also recommended.
Try all kinds of fruit with this method; apples, pears, cranberries and peaches. Some fruit may have more natural scent than others, but they all make attractive potpourri.
Collect the fixative. This is an ingredient that holds scent to create lasting aroma. Examples are oak moss and orris root (dried rhizomes of the iris plant). Other examples are non-iodised pickling salt, calamus root, cinnamon and gum benzoin. Grind the fixatives to a fine powder to absorb the oils. For fixatives such as pickling salt or cinnamon, you can obtain them at a local grocery store and grind them to the powdered consistency. For other fixatives such as calamus, check with local nurseries or major craft stores.
Gather essential oils. These will be added to the fixative. Add complimentary oils like lemon grass or orange to create a blended aroma. Essential oils can be obtained from health food stores.
Place the dried fruit, fixative and essential oils in a jar with a lid. Use 2 tbsps. of fixative for each quart of dried fruit. Close the lid tightly. Shake the jar every day. Allow the mixture to steep for four to six weeks. When ready, place the fruit potpourri in a bowl to enjoy the scent.
Use four times the amount of fruit than is needed for the potpourri as the drying process shrinks the fruit. For example, when making 1 cup of potpourri, dry 4 cups of fruit.