Ministik Trading

Purveyors of products that embrace natural sustainable living and permaculture practices.

Remember......It's your birthright to actively participate in the creative process. In all things, give thanks! Our knowing is defined in our living. Our living will reveal the extent of our knowing.


EAR CANDLES

A natural and safe home remedy for many sinus and ear related problems

Ingredients: Unbleached cotton muslin and pure bees wax.

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POTPOURRI

SCENTS COMMON & UNCOMMON


Although all the five senses can appreciate beauty, sight and smell respond most universally to the aesthetic qualities of plants. The beauty of nature at its best is a blend of color, fragrance, and design, creating a single impression in the mind of the beholder. But you don't have to rough it in the woods or get up before dawn to enjoy nature's sensory delights: you can bring them into your own home whenever you want-in the form of a potpourri.

A potpourri is a mixture of flowers, other aromatic plant parts, and oils kept in a decorative covered container. When you want the fragrance of the mixture to scent the air, you remove the lid for as long as it takes to achieve the desired effect. At other times you keep the container closed to conserve the fragrance. But potpourris can please the eye as well. Those made of colorful dried flowers and plant parts show off to good advantage in a glass container; those made by the wet method (see below) can be kept in an attractive opaque container.

Although rose petals are the traditional main ingredient of a potpourri, any number of other flowers, plant parts, and oils can be combined to make for unlimited variety of scent and appearance. Roses have the advantage-shared by only a few other flowers, including lavender, lemon verbena, rose geranium, and tuberose -of not losing their fragrance with drying. Other flowers can be dried and then scented with their own volatile oils, or they can be used in the potpourri for color and bulk. Other plant parts ---leaves, roots, fruit rinds, etc.---can also contribute fragrance or add interest by providing variety of color and form.

You can make potpourris by either the dry or the wet method. The dry method is easier and more common, and it has the visual advantage of preserving the ingredients in something like their live state. The older wet method often called "sweet jar"--actually accounts for the name potpourri which comes from the French term potpourri, meaning "rotten pot." Perhaps you'd rather not have been told that little tidbit, but it's true: the ingredients, mixed with salt, do actually rot into an aromatic caked mass. Some claim that the fragrances are extracted and retained better in this method; but the wet potpourri is also more likely to take on a stale or musty odor with time. The dry potpourri tends to have a lighter, more subtle scent.

If you gather your own potpourri ingredients, following a few rules will help produce better results. Collect roses and other flowers on a dry, sunny day, preferably no less than two days after the last rainfall. The best time of day is in the morning, just after the dew has dried. Pick flowers that are nearly or recently opened; never use damaged flowers or those that have passed their peak, since the latter will have little volatile oil left. Pick other decorative plant parts (leaves, buds, etc.) at the same time.

The next step is to dry your collection. Use the standard methods described in "Getting and Keeping Herbs" (Part 1), being especially careful not to bruise delicate petals and leaves. Drying the parts on a raised window screen is very effective because it allows air to circulate on all sides. Turn them every few days. If the parts tend to blow away, cover them with cheesecloth or nylon netting. Keep them out of sunlight while drying; otherwise their colors will fade. For a dry potpourri, let the parts dry thoroughly; for a wet one, use them after one or two days, when they have become limp.

Unless you have a very large garden and lots of room to dry flowers, it will take time to accumulate enough materials for one or more potpourris. Keep your dried materials in large, well-sealed jars, protecting them as much as possible from light. If you have enough containers, you can store the different colors separately and then blend them in any proportions you like when making the potpourri mixture.

To make a dry potpourri, begin by mixing your flower petals to achieve the desired color effect. Put the mixture in a large bowl and for each quart of petals add about a tablespoon of fixative material (in crushed or ground form), which helps to keep the potpourri fragrant longer by retarding the evaporation of volatile oils. Then, carefully stir in a like amount of crushed or ground spices, and add any miscellaneous decorative or aromatic items your sense of artistry or of smell may suggest. Finally, stir a few drops of one or more aromatic oils into the mixture, but don't overdo it: too much oil or too many kinds of oil can unbalance the fragrance enough to ruin a good potpourri. To determine your own preferences, experiment by dividing your mixed petals into small batches and adding the rest of the ingredients (reduced proportionately, of course in various combinations. When doing this, keep a good record of each experiment so that you can duplicate the most successful ones.

When the potpourri mixture is complete, store it in a sealed container for about six weeks to let the various fragrances meld into a smooth, harmonious blend. Fill the container only half to two-thirds full, so that you can stir the mixture every few days by turning and shaking the container. After six weeks, divide the mixture into as many portions as you plan to make up into individual potpourris, making sure that all ingredients are equally well balanced in each portion. For the longest-lasting fragrance, put up each potpourri in a decorative glass jar that can be tightly stoppered. If you open it sparingly, the fragrance can last for years. Potpourris made up in baskets or otherwise continuously exposed to the air will fade much sooner. Adding a little flower oil or brandy can revive a potpourri when its scent begins to weaken.

Dry potpourri mixtures can also be made into sachets and bath potpourris. To make a sachet, put an ounce or so of mixture into a small bag and keep it in a closet or drawer to perfume clothing, linens, etc. For a bath potpourri, crush or powder all the dry ingredients, then mix with an equal amount of borax crystals. Age the mixture in a sealed jar for a week or two. For each bath, put a teaspoon of the aged mixture into a small bag, and hang the bag where the steam from the incoming hot water will pass over it to release the scent.

For the wet method of making potpourris, put a layer of partly dried petals in the bottom of a large, wide-mouth jar; then add a layer of un-iodized salt (or even better, bay salt-salt from evaporated sea water). Add alternate layers of petals and salt until you run out of petals. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon and compress it by putting a Weighted plate on it (you see why you need a wide-mouth jar). Repeat the stirring daily, adding layers of salt and petals as more become available. Keep the weight on between stirrings. Eventually, fermentation will produce a broth at the top of the mixture. When this happens, stir the mixture-broth and all-thoroughly, replace the weight, and let everything sit undisturbed for one to two weeks. The result should be a caked mass that you can remove and break up into small bits. To complete the potpourri, combine the crushed cake with spices, oils, and fixatives as in the dry method. Because its appearance is not one of its appealing qualities, keep this potpourri in an opaque container. The best ones have two lids, a solid one to retain the scent and underneath it another with holes to release the fragrance when the solid lid is removed.

There are innumerable recipes for potpourris, but ultimately your own nose and eyes are the best guides. Keep in mind the general proportions of one tablespoon each of spices and fixatives per quart of petals. Add flower oils a few drops at a time until the fragrance is what you want. Whatever you add, always err on the side of caution: you can always add more.

The most common ingredients for potpourris are listed below. Some you can grow and prepare yourself; the others are available at drug stores, herb stores, or perfume supply houses. Experiment with these ingredients to get used to the processes involved; then you can strike out confidently in new directions to produce your own unique fragrances and effects.

Flowers


Aster, baby's breath, calendula, camomile, cardinal flower, carnation, common mullein, cornflower, elder, elecampane, European linden, garden violet, heliotrope, hollyhock, hyacinth, jasmine, jonquil, larkspur, lavender, lemon verbena, lily of the valley, mignonette, monkshood, narcissus, nas- turtium, orange, Oswego tea, pansy, peppermint, rose, rose geranium, safflower, sweet acacia, tiger lily, tuberose, white melilot, wild daisy, w oad, ylang-ylang.

Leaves

Balm, basil, bay, cinnamon, garden violet, lad's love, lavender, lemon thyme, lemon verbena, life everlasting, lovage, mint, Oswego tea, patchouli, rose, rose geranium, rosemary, sage, sweet cicely, sweet fern, sweet marjoram, sweet vernal grass, tarragon, thyme, wild vanilla, woodruff.

Spices

Allspice, caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cubebs, ginger, mace, nutmeg.

Fixatives

Ambrette, asafetida, balsam of Peru, balsam of Tolu, dory sage oil, gum benzoin, gum mastic, khus-khus root, labdamyrrh, oakmoss, orris root, patchouli oil, reindeer moss, sandalwood, storax, sumbul, sweet flag root.

Oils

To make your own, soak at least ten successive batches of fresh petals in olive, safflower, or ben oil, leaving each batch in the oil for a day or two. When finished, strain and
keep in a tightly closed container.
Bergamot, bitter almond, caraway, dill, eucalyptus, fennel, gardenia, heliotrope, honeysuckle, jasmine, lavender, lemon, lemon verbena, lilac, lime, meadowsweet, narcissus, orange flower (neroli oil), peppermint, rose (attar), rosemary, rosewood, sandalwood, tonka bean, vanilla, wallflower.

Miscellaneous Additions

Aniseed, cedar wood, coriander seed, European angelica root, lemon peel, linaloe wood, orange peel, rose buds, sandalwood, sassafras root, tonka bean, vanilla bean.

NOTES:
Ambrette comes from abelmosk (Hibiscus moschatus).
Balsam of Peru comes from the Peruvian balsam tree (Myroxylon pereirae).
Balsam of Tolu comes from the balsam tree (Myroxylon balsamum).
Ben oil comes from the horseradish tree (Moringa oleifera).
Gum mastic comes from the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus).
Labdanum comes from rock-rose (Cistus ladaniferus).
Oakmoss is a general term for various lichens that grow on oak trees.
Rosewood oil comes from rhodium shrubs (Convolvulus scoparius and Convolvulus virgatus).
Storax comes from the oriental sweet gum (Liquidambar origintabs).

 

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Ministik

Materia Medica

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Ministik Bittersr

Based on a 16th century recipe

"Elixir Ad Longam Vitam"

Elixir for a Long Life

Available as a ready to use tincture or in a dry herb kit form.

 

 

 

Ministik Trading

Site 210 Box 8 RR2

Tofield, Alberta 

Canada T0B 4J0

Ph: 780-662-3309