Frosts are coming more frequently now in the Shenandoah Valley. Leaves are dry and curling, basil plants have turned black and corn stalks loom parched and paper-like in the nearly desolate garden. But there are still a few green plants that brave the low 30 degree morning temperatures. Two cabbage plants have come to life, the oregano is still green and the mint has recovered from its summer drought and is once more taking over the garden.
Today I harvested a bagful of peppermint, spearmint and chocolate mint for my famous winter mint potpourri. There is simply nothing like the refreshing scent of mint on a frosty winter afternoon! And now that summer canning, freezing and preserving is done for another season, it’s nice to pick handfuls of mint leaves to dry for potpourri.
1 cup of cellulose fiber fixative (or orris root) to hold the scent
10 – 15 drops of peppermint oil
3 – 4 cups of dried mint leaves
1 cup of broken cinnamon sticks
1. Spread fresh mint on newspapers or paper towels to dry. (Make sure it is crispy dry before using it.)
2. About a week before mixing the potpourri, put peppermint oil on the cellulose fiber and place the mixture in a glass jar with a lid. Shake occasionally to distribute the scent.
3. When the mint leaves have dried and the oil has soaked into the fiber fixative, combine the mint, cinnamon sticks and cellulose fiber fixative. Mix well. If the scent is not strong enough, add a few more drops of peppermint oil.
4. Place in an open container or in a simmer pot.