When the darker, rainier days of fall are upon you, you may find yourself looking for something to freshen the place up. A candle is great. I really love candles.
But sometimes you need more. You need something to permeate the dampness and the dark.
I think people call this fall potpourri or something like that. There are actual recipes on Pinterest. But you don’t need any of that.
For those of you with wood stoves – or the memory of a wood stove – remember when you had clippings from a pine tree and put those in the water on the top of the stove? (We always had water going on the wood stove to keep some moisture in the air.)
It smelled like Christmas, right?
This is the same concept, but for fall. Whenever I go up to Shady Maple in Pennsylvania or any other place that sells bulk spices, I can’t resist picking up some whole cloves or cinnamon sticks and um, lots of other spices. My box of cinnamon sticks was $1 something. Just too hard to pass up! So I keep these on hand and still don’t spend a fortune. Use what you have. Even ground spices would smell lovely.
Start with fruit for fall. I used orange peel. I bought a very large navel orange and took all the rind off. The rind went in the pot and the fruit went in my bowl. Some people put fruit slices in the water instead, but I can’t bear to boil and then throw the fruit away. I eat it instead. I must have one frugal bone in my body somewhere.
Then I put some whole spices in with the rind. I used what I had, which was: cinnamon, allspice and cloves.
Fill the pot halfway with water and set over medium heat on the stove. Once the water has started to steam or boil, reduce the heat to simmer (low). Refill the water as needed – don’t let the spices get dry or burn.
Simmer as long as you are able to keep tabs on it. If you have to leave for any reason, turn the burner off. It is easy to forget you have this on and let the pan dry up and scorch, triggering the fire alarm or worse. In the RV, my stove is directly across from the table and sofa making it easy to watch all the time.
Another alternative would be to put it in a small slow cooker on low instead. The low heat should keep the water from boiling away.
My concoction today smells like fresh orange juice, sweet cinnamon and spicy cloves. Much like those clove-studded oranges you see in Colonial Williamsburg during the holidays.
You can change the fruit or the spices to suit your pantry. Apple peel, lemon rind or cranberries could be swapped or added together with another fruit. Start with just one or two spices to avoid scent overload. Nutmeg or bay leaves are other possibilities. If you really want a recipe, these should get you started. Happy fall, y’all!