It’s amazing how scents just whisk you away to another world: a memory or place that is recognizable by how it smells. Christmas has a smell for sure, perhaps like hot apple cider mixed with pine trees, oranges, and clove? At least that what it smells like for me. Even during those days that I haven’t had my oven working overtime, it’s nice to fill my house with the welcoming aromas of the holidays so I made up a few jars of simmering spices to have on hand for the occasion.
Simmering spices are easy to make by combining any fragrant botanicals, spices, and herbs and adding them to boiling water, releasing fragrant steam that in turn scents the air in your home. You can simmer them on the stove top or in a crock pot, and the possible scent combinations are endless. You could make comforting, cozy scents to bring cheer to a cold, dreary day, decongestants to help with a cold or flu, or festive fragrances that will have your house smelling like the holidays in a jiffy.
You can use fresh or dried ingredients to make these simmering spices. Here are some ideas for ingredients that are probably already in your spice rack, refrigerator, or pantry:
- Cinnamon sticks
- Fresh or dried apple slices
- Vanilla extract
- Fresh or dried mint
- Chai tea
- Fresh pumpkin
- Fresh citrus slices
- Evergreen leaves
- Vanilla beans
To make the simmering spices, mix all of your chosen ingredients together and add them into a pot of boiling water. Simmer on low heat and enjoy the scent! You can leave the mixture simmering all day long if you add more water now and then as it evaporates.
Here are some of my tried-and-true simmering spice recipes:
It’s Like Snowflakes Melting on Your Nose
This blend is cool, crisp, and fresh, like a woodland stroll in a winter wonderland.
- Star anise
- Fresh evergreen leaves (cypress, cedar, and pine all have nice scents)
These soothing scents will help you relax and get ready for bed.
Make the whole house smell like yummy pumpkin pie with this blend.
Hot apple cider and Chai tea both have the coziest, most comforting scents. This blend combines them.
Cold and Flu Relief
Perfect for when you’re feeling stuffy and congested. Simmer this spice blend on the stove and pop a eucalyptus shower steamer in your morning shower and you’ll be feeling better in no time!
It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas
This comforting blend of spices and savory herbs smells just like Christmas!