It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas! Christmas Simmer is a lovely way to make your home smell warm and inviting, especially during the holiday season. It also makes an easy inexpensive gift for friends, neighbors, teachers and co-workers. I printed the instructions directly onto the bag and dressed them up with ribbon and cinnamon sticks. (Tutorial at the bottom of the post).
- 3 dried orange slices
- 3 sticks cinnamon
- 3 small bay leaves
- 1 tbsp whole cloves
- A bit of grated nutmeg
Put all the ingredients into a saucepan. Fill pan with water. Place on the stove on the smallest burner, on the lowest setting. Top up water as needed. This also helps humidify the home a bit too! You can refrigerate it for up to one week and use it daily.
Caution: Set your timer for 30 minutes so you remember to top up with water. You don’t want the pot burning dry. Do not leave the house with this left heating on the stove.
There are lots of different ingredients that you can use to create your simmer. You can even save orange, lemon and lime peels or apple skins (dry them out first before storing in a container) and add those in too. Experiment to find your favorite aromas!
- cinnamon sticks
- dried orange slices or rinds
- dried lemon slices or rinds
- whole cloves
- dried apple peels
- apple juice
- vanilla extract (a few drops)
- sprigs evergreen or handful pine needles
- bay leaves
- star anise
- ground nutmeg
- dried lavender
- fresh rosemary
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can do this in the oven too. Arrange the slices on a baking rack on top of a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. By putting them on the rack, you allow the air to get under them too. Set your oven to the lowest temperature (about 150°F) and bake them for about four hours, check them every hour. You want them to be dry to the touch and still have some of their orange colour. They’ll continue to dry more at room temperature.
To make the bags, I started with creating my design in Microsoft Word and then printing on a piece of paper. You can download my Christmas Simmer Printing Template
Tape the paper onto the window, so you can see through it.
Center the bag on the paper, until you have the text where you want it on the bag.
Tape the bag in place at the top and the bottom.
Run the paper again through the printer.
Do a test run to see if the image prints where you want it on the bag.
If the image on the first bag looks right, then mark the bottom corners on the page, so you know where to line up the next one. Carefully remove the tape from the printed bag and set up the next one to go through the printer.
Then it’s time to decorate! I used this lovely fabric ribbon from our trip to The Paper Place a few weeks ago, along with some sticks of cinnamon.
Fill the bag with your dried fruit, peels and spices. Fold the top over and punch two holes into the top with a hole punch.
Thread the ribbon through the holes and ties in a bow with a cinnamon stick.
If you give this a try, I’d love to hear what your favourite aroma combinations are for a Christmas Simmer!