If you’re looking for a natural, non-toxic way to make your house smell amazing during the holiday season, simmer pots are a fun and easy option. However, simmer pots (aka stovetop potpourri) can be used to create enjoyable aromas any time of year – not just the holidays :)
So many of the holiday scented options out there right now are loaded with harmful chemicals. Every store that I walk into right now is selling some kind of scented candle, oil jar, room freshener spray that is chock-full with toxic ingredients. When you were using those products you were breathing in those cancer causing pathogens through your airways and disrupting your endocrine system. So let’s make a healthy alternative!
In addition to being non-toxic, whipping up some homemade simmering spices is very inexpensive compared to using scented candles, especially if you use ingredients you already have on hand!
Here comes the fun part! When it comes to creating stovetop simmering spices, the options are endless. There are zero rules, so feel free to get creative with the materials, spices, and combinations you put together. Most people simply use what they already have available at home. Or, you could pick up a few special ingredients to spice things up!
Once you have your chosen simmering spice ingredients, combine them in a pot of water. About half full is good. Start with a small handful of each chunky ingredient such as lemons, apples, or oranges, and a few dashes of spices. Once the mixture begins to heat up, you can always adjust and add more if you find the aroma not as strong as you’d like. Again, nothing is set in stone here!
Have fun and be creative :)
Optional Ingredients For Simmer Pots:
Orange, Lemon, Lime or any other citrus peels, zest – or even lemon powder.
Fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano, or other aromatic herbs
Apple slices, halves, or chunks
Cinnamon sticks, or ground cinnamon powder
Fresh ginger, or ginger powder
Cloves, whole or ground
Pumpkin Spice Seasoning
Sprigs of pine or cedar, or fresh sappy pine cones
Vanilla Beans, or vanilla extract. If you’re going to get fancy and use whole vanilla beans, scoop out the inside to use for baking and only simmer the outer pod/skin. The skin alone provides a rich sweet aroma, so keep that inside nectar for baking.
Here are Some Popular Combinations:
Fresh orange slices, fresh ginger, star anise, clove, cinnamon, and vanilla. (pictured above)
Apples, ginger, lemon peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove
Rosemary, lemon peel or slices, sprigs of fresh cedar or pine, star anise, and bay leaves
Apples, pumpkin spice seasoning, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks
Fresh lavender buds and a dash of vanilla extract
Combine your ingredients of choice on a pot of water on the stove, or in a crock pot or Instant Pot with the lid off.
Start with a small handful of each chunky ingredient such as orange slices, sprigs of rosemary, or lemon peels – plus a little splash of any liquid, and few dashes of spices. Once the mixture begins to heat up, you can always adjust and add more if you find the aroma not as strong as you’d like. There are no rules here!
Turn the heat up to bring everything to a light boil, reduce to a simmer, and enjoy the smell that will soon infuse in your home.
Keep an eye on your pot, and perhaps set a timer if you’re forgetful! You don’t want all of the water to evaporate and let the pan run dry.
Top off with more water as needed to enjoy your simmering spices for many hours.