Natural aromas of seasonal foods, herbs and spices create comfort and coziness. The best way to make use of aromas is to release and intensify them through heat. Natural aromas are favorable over other aromatic options in terms of safety (chemical fragrances), cost (essential oils), and waste (packaged products).
Choose your aromatics. The least wasteful option is to use ingredients destined for the compost as well as ones that can be dehydrated for reuse. Citrus peels, apple peels & cores, spent vanilla bean pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves, evergreens, the apple forgotten in back of the fridge, or even a dried out orange are great options. All can be used in any condition as long as mold is removed.
Heat. Place aromatics in a pot or slow cooker. Cover with water. Simmer on low. Occasionally refill with water until finished enjoying the aroma.
Dehydrate. After use, drain the water and pull out easily dehydrated items such as cinnamon sticks, orange peels, cloves and vanilla bean pods. As long as the ingredients are completely dry when stored, they can be reused again and again as aromatics until they have lost their desired intensity. Simply heat them in water to enjoy again.
Suggested Aromatic Blends:
- Evergreen Sprigs/Mint/Cinnamon
Environmental Working Group (2010). “3,163 Ingredients Hide Behind the Word ‘Fragrance.’”