Ahh, fall. The leaves are changing, the summer heat is receding, and sweater weather is here. For me, the scents of fall are the best part, but that can look . . . or smell! . . . different to everyone. My go-to method for making my home smell like fall is a simmer pot. It’s organic, non-toxic aromatherapy that is simple to assemble — and looks beautiful, too.
Legend has it that simmer pots originated in pagan cultures to celebrate the changing of the seasons and cleanse the home of bad energy.
No matter which ingredients you choose, the first step in the process is to assemble and prepare them. Cut fruit into small slices, and herbs and flowers can be left whole. Fill the pot halfway with water, cover it, and place it on the stove at medium-high heat.
Once the water starts to boil, set the heat to low to keep it at a simmer. Carefully place your ingredients in the simmering water and leave the lid off. Other than making sure the ingredients do not burn by stirring occasionally and ensuring adequate water is in the pot, you’re all set. Now, just sit back, relax, and let the sweet aroma fill your home!
Supplies You’ll need:
1 large pot
Fruit, herbs, and/or flowers of your choice
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Apple Cinnamon Simmer Pot
2 red apples
4 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons dried cloves
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
This is my ideal simmer pot combination for fall. Something about the scent of cinnamon and apple immediately brings me to a fall state of mind no matter the time of year. Slice the apples lengthwise into flat slices. Cutting them this way will allow you to use the core and the seeds. Add the apples to the simmering pot along with the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and rosemary sprigs. Stir to submerge everything in the water.
Sweet Blood Orange Simmer Pot
1 large blood orange
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 cinnamon sticks
The combination of sweet vanilla and oranges smells like a dream and the aesthetic screams fall. The blood oranges add a little spookiness for Halloween lovers. Slice the oranges, peel and all, lengthwise into flat slices. Add them to the pot along with the vanilla extract and cinnamon sticks. Pop it on the stove while you wait for trick-or-treaters to knock on your door.
Cranberry and Rosemary Simmer Pot
4 cups whole cranberries
6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Handful of pine needles
This trifecta is perfect for the Christmas season not only because of the scent but the colors as well. I highly recommend you have this simmer pot going on Christmas morning while opening presents. The process is simple: Bring your water to a simmer, put the ingredients in, and enjoy! Pro tip: Tie your pine needles in a bundle with hemp twine. This will keep the needles from burning on the sides of the pot and make the cleanup process easier.
Lemon Pomegranate Simmer Pot
1 large pomegranate
5 – 8 sage leaves
Fall and winter are pomegranate seasons, so we must have a simmer pot that includes them! This combo highlights citrus and earthy scents to create a unique aroma. Cut the lemon into flat slices. Cut the pomegranate like you would if you were going to eat it: downwards from top to bottom and then break it apart into wedges. Be sure to collect any seeds that fall out. Tear off five to eight sage leaves from a sage plant in your garden or a fresh sprig you find at the store. Add all the items to the pot and let the magic happen.
Stress Relief Simmer Pot
10 eucalyptus leaves or 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
20 mint leaves
2 green apples
Not all simmer pots have to be fall related. You can use simmer pots during any season and for any reason. Some major benefits of simmer pots are their aromatherapy qualities. If you are looking for some stress relief, try this combination of ingredients that naturally promotes relaxation. Slice the apples lengthwise and add them to the pot with the mint leaves and eucalyptus. You will feel it working as soon as the aromas start to waft.
Calming Simmer Pot
3 sprigs of fresh lavender
6 – 10 bay leaves
This simmer pot includes herbs and fruits that calm us naturally. Slice the cucumbers into circles and do the same with the lemon. Add all the items into the pot, give it a stir, and let the soothing aroma do its job.
Where to shop
The best place to get these ingredients is in your own (or a friend’s) garden. No garden? Supporting local stores is a great option if you aren’t growing the plants yourself. Of course, you can visit the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market for fresh herbs to add to your pots.
Story and photography by Olivia Belcher
Originally published in Neighbors magazineThis article was posted by Olivia