Put on the Christmas Pot

20161209_045919-5No, that’s not an invitation to waddle up to the holiday groaning board and eat everything until you burst!

Now that wintry weather is here and we shutter our windows to biting winds and snow, your home may start to feel a little stuffy and stale. Simmering spices are an easy and non-toxic way to freshen and fill the air with the delicious scents of Christmas. To help put your household in a festive mood, use this simple method and try these Yuletide simmering spice pot blends:

Add ingredients to a small pot of boiling water and boil for a couple of minutes. Reduce heat and let pot simmer gently, uncovered, for as long as you like. Top up water level as needed; do not let pot boil dry.

20161209_055903-5Christmas Fruitcake: fresh apple, orange and/or lemon slices with skin • handful of fresh cranberries (optional) • 2” to 3” cinnamon stick or a pinch of ground cinnamon • a few whole cloves • pinch of ground nutmeg • a few slices fresh ginger or pinch of ground ginger (optional)

Spice Route: orange slices and peel • cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon • 2 to 3 bay leaves • a few whole cloves • a few cracked cardamom pods • pine needle sprigs

Cranberry Woods: several fresh rosemary sprigs • handful of fresh cranberries • orange slices and peel • cinnamon stick

Spiced Orange: orange slices and peel • 1 to 2 cinnamon sticks • 2 tbsp whole cloves • 5 whole star anise

20161209_064643-6Adjust quantities (or omit) according to preference. Keep children and pets away from the stove and pot, and turn off the heat if you leave the house. Simmering spices are for home fragrance only; do not ingest.

Original artwork © 2016 Valerie Barrett.