One of my favorite thank you or neighbor gifts to give during the holidays is a homemade batch of stovetop potpourri. It is so easy to make and always a well received break from the endless parade of holiday sweets. This is a fun gift to throw together and you can be as creative as you like with the pairings. I am providing a recipe for what I put in this year’s batch, but feel free to add or take away ingredients as suits your fancy. This year I decided to crank it up a notch and oven dry my own orange slices; usually I just throw a whole lemon or orange in the bag with directions to slice it. Enjoy the aromas and save a batch for yourself!
What You Need
Oranges (1/2 per gift)
Cinnamon Sticks (2 whole per gift; you will break them in two to create 4 per gift)
Cloves (1 tsp per gift)
Bay Leaves (2 per gift)
Cranberries (1/2 cup per gift)
What To Do
Combine the ingredients in a bag with directions to slice the orange 1/4 inch thick, place the ingredients in a saucepan, cover with water and simmer over low heat. Add water as needed. I used plastic gift bags and leftover yard to tie it up. Simple, easy, no fuss. If you want to go an extra step, consider drying out your own orange slices.
Drying Out Orange Slices in the Oven
- Preheat oven to 200F. Low and slow is best, but if you are pressed for time you can crank it up to 250F and try it for 2.5-3 hrs instead of 3.5-4hrs.
- Slice oranges 1/4 inch thick. Calculate about 1/2 orange per gift.
- Lay oranges out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Blot dry with paper towel.
- Bake for 3.5-4 hrs at 200F/2.5-3hrs.
- Turn them at least three times. This will also allow you to monitor the oranges in case some start to burn.
- Let them sit overnight (or longer) in the oven after it is turned off. This allows them to dry out even more.