ISSUE 1  |  Office Space

DIY: A Potent Potpourri With Grapefruit, Rosemary, and Vanilla

January 07, 2014 5:00 PM

BY Erin Boyle

Feeling cooped up after the holidays? Feel refreshed instead with this bright, citrus-y stovetop potpourri that does double duty by humidifying the air and helping it to smell good.

Photographs by Erin Boyle.

Above: I usually associate stovetop potpourris with the thick scent of burbling apples, cloves, and cinnamon. This variety of steam pot has its place in the dark weeks between the solstice and the new year, but come January I’m ready for something brighter. 

Above: Grapefruit peel, rosemary, and vanilla is my current favorite combination.

Above: The amount of plant material you use is entirely up to you. I used about a quarter of a vanilla bean, sliced vertically to release the richly scented interior; two sprigs of rosemary, and two peels of grapefruit rind.

Above: Just add water. I like to keep an inch or so of water in my pot at all times to make sure that everything stays moist, and nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Be sure to keep the burner temperature low so the water doesn’t evaporate too quickly.

Above: I keep a tiny enamelware porridge pan on the stove for making steam pots. I purchased my Riess Saucepan at ABC Carpet & Home earlier this year, but any similarly small pot will work as well.

Above: After heating, the water will slowly turn a dark color, especially as more of the vanilla bean loosens. Use a wooden utensil to give the pot a stir every so often to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. And as always, experiment with other combinations. Lemon, cardamom pods, and juniper berries would make an equally delightful January perfume.

Intrigued by potpourri? See Alexa’s post: Modern Potpourri: The Irresistible Fragrance of a Rotten Pot.