Fall is finally in the air! While the changing leaves add visual beauty to our surroundings, the comforting and soothing scents of the season are cropping up all around us. It’s time for pumpkin spice and everything nice!
While it’s easy to reach for candles and air fresheners to enhance those fall fragrances this time of year, these products may not be the healthiest choice. Many scented candles and air fresheners use synthetic perfumes. These perfumes are not aggressively regulated, so it’s difficult to know exactly what is being released into the air. On top of that, many candles and air fresheners contain phthalates. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors that have been shown to play a role in hormone abnormalities and other health problems.
The good news is that it’s very easy – and a whole lot healthier – to make your own stovetop air fresheners from whole food ingredients. A basic stovetop potpourri made of spices, dried fruit peels, and extracts will fill your entire home with a wonderful toxic-free aroma that lasts throughout the day.
Additionally, simmering potpourri on the stove is a great way to add moisture to the air. I often leave mine on for an hour or two, replacing the water as needed. All of that extra moisture helps the heat to stay longer and carries the aroma throughout the house.
Below are several of my favorite simmering pot recipes. Any of these recipes can be modified to suit your personal preference. There are an infinite number of combinations, so go ahead and experiment!
Be sure to discard the ingredients in the pot once the mix starts to smell or look "off." (I've never simmered a stovetop potpourri for more than a week.) It also helps to have a dedicated pot for your stove top simmers, as cleaning the pot afterwards can be a chore and involve some scrubbing. This is definitely not something you want to do in your favorite pot!
Basic Fall Stovetop Simmer
- 5 cups water
- 2 navel oranges, peeled
- 1 apple, sliced in half
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 3 star anise
- 1 teaspoon-sized knob of fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon dried orange peel
Combine all ingredients together in a saucepan and heat over low heat until simmering. I have kept this going for a few hours, adding additional water when needed. You can also place everything in a small crockpot and set it on low or high with the top off.
- 3 cups water (or enough to cover the fruit and spices)
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 oranges cut into wedges or 1 cup dried orange peel or 2 cups fresh orange peel
- ¼ cup grated or thinly sliced fresh ginger or 2 Tbs. dried ground ginger
- 1 quart water (or enough to cover the fruit and spices)
- 2 apples cut into slices or 1 cup dried apple peel or 2 cups fresh peels and/or cores, organic if possible
- 6 cinnamon sticks
- 2 Tablespoons whole cloves or 1½ Tablespoon ground cloves (I think whole have a stronger scent and I love these cloves)
Apple Cider Chai
- 2 cups water (or enough to cover the fruit and spices)
- 2 cups apple cider
- 2 apples cut into slices or 1 cup dried apple peel or 2 cups fresh peels and/or cores
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 Tbs. whole cloves or ½ Tbs. ground cloves (cloves like this)
- 1 Tbs. ground cardamom (these cardamom pods are fantastic)
- 1 Tbs. ground ginger or fresh grated ginger
- ¼ cup brown sugar or raw cane sugar (here's a favorite fair-trade, raw, organic sugar)
Winter Woods Simmering Pot
- ½ cup juniper berries
- 1 sprig thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 sprig rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)
Ginger Citrus Simmering Pot
- ¼ cup grated ginger (or 1 tablespoon ground ginger)
- peel of 2 oranges
- peel of 1 lemon
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Orange, Sliced
- 1 Lemon, Sliced
- Cranberry Bliss
- 1 orange
- ½ lemon
- 1 cup cranberries
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tablespoon cloves
Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.