Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Making Mulling Spices and/or Simmering Potpourri ~ Citrus Series

"Smells are surer than sounds and sights to make the heartstrings crack."
~ Rudyard Kipling

The *sweet warm home* is the star of the season during these chilly months. Scents of cinnamon and spice offer a sense of coziness and will stimulate sweet memories for your children later on in life. Mulling spices offer fragrance in the form of a simmering potpourri (my favorite) or they can be used to enhance your hot apple cider on those frigid days. You could also brew some of your favorite tea, allow the mulling spices to soak and drink in the fall and winter flavors. The best part is that making your own is frugal, fun and easy!

Simple Supplies:
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon chips (or sticks)
  • 2 tbsp dried orange peel
  • 1 1/2 tbsp whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 tbsp whole allspice
  • optional: string/twine and fine cheesecloth (to make a simmering bag)
  • optional: 4 ounce jelly jars

For the cinnamon chips, we crushed a few cinnamon sticks with a household hammer and measured them out. We dried our own orange peel and purchased the other ingredients in bags as it is cheaper than buying the bottles of spices (since you are paying extra for the packaging).

Simply mix together and place everything in a clean container. You can introduce more or less of any ingredient depending on your likes. Crushed nutmeg can also be added for variation. The wonderful part is that all of these spices have medicinal value as well!

Williams Sonoma mixes in some essential oils of cinnamon and orange to their product. If you would like to try that, make sure your oils are edible such as the doTERRA brand. Leave them to sit in a closed container for a few days to absorb the oils once you stir them in.

To give as a gift, you may want to include a spice bag. Just cut out a rectangle of fine cheesecloth and sew up the sides (leaving one side open). Use this and the tie (which will seal the spice bag when simmering) to double up as a jar decoration.

The small, 4 ounce jelly jars are a perfect size for this project and you will find our free "orange" inspired labels here.

How to Use:
  • Add the mulling spices to a hot tea (red rooibos would be an excellent choice)  by placing 1 tbsp. of mulling spices to every half gallon of beverage. Allow the spices to steep in the hot liquid for approx. 30-45 minutes. Strain out the spices before serving (or simply remove spice bag if you are using one).
  • Place a few tablespoons of mulling spices into a pot of water, bring to a simmer and the sweet and spicy fragrance will fill your home. If you have a wood-stove, place a pot of this mixture on top to add needed moisture to the dry air as your potpourri simmers.
  • Add the mulling spices to apple cider by placing 1 tbsp. of spices to every half gallon of beverage. Allow the spices to steep in the hot liquid for approx. 30-45 minutes. Strain out the spices before serving (or simply remove spice bag if you are using one).
  • You could also make a mulling spice body scrub using this recipe here.

If you enjoyed this project, we share 100+ more ideas on how to use up fruit scraps in our Ebook here! Happy kitchen-crafting, ladies!

All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The ScoopTitus 2 TuesdaysTuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersThe Homesteader HopWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou Friday, and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).


  1. JES, this is another simply beautiful post. And I love how the mulling spices are dual purpose in making our homes smell fantastic and flavoring a favorite tea. Have a wonderful day.

  2. It's unfortunate that my screen is not scratch-n-sniff:) It looks wonderful. I like to put my used mulling spices in an empty can (like a rinsed out veggie can) on the back of the stove so whenever the stove warms up, so do the spices.
    I have oranges & peels in the dehydrater as I type.

  3. Oh how delightful! I can almost smell it from here :) Thank you for sharing and may you have a blessed week.

    Hugs to you!

  4. I do something similar, but have never thought of gifting it in a jar. Nice idea. Thanks. ~ abby

  5. I am thinking of you so often, JES...missing you, too. May the God of all grace bless and keep you and your family. You are a dear, dear friend. Merry Christmas!

  6. What a lovely idea to use for gifts! I keep a pot of simmering potporri adding cinnamon, anise and cloves to it. I hadn't thought about orange peel (and I think I have some in my pantry)! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. You are welcome! We keep ours simmering with water in a teapot on our wood-stove in winter and the smell is amazing :)

  7. Mmmm.... we love doing this all winter... it is time to start again. :) We did use it in hot apple cider during our very cold garage sale last week. :) We haven't given it as gifts, but that is a great idea. Thank you. :)

  8. This looks wonderful!!
    I love citrus.
    This is my featured post today on the HomeAcre Hop!
    Thanks for sharing.

  9. I think I have just found what I want to give as gifts to church families. This and a gallon of apple cider. Thank you!