Simmer pots are all the rage this year (if you can say that about homemade stove top potpourri), and I think it would make such a great little gift idea too. When I make this recipe for myself, I don’t bother drying the citrus fruit and use fresh cranberries, but if you want to gift the simmer pot ingredients, drying your fruit is a must.
Drying citrus fruit is super easy, but a little time consuming. I spent a day drying oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and blood oranges, and tried out a couple of methods. Lemons worked great in my air fryer using the dehydrate setting. I think they took about 2 hours to dry completely that way. Oranges and the grapefuit took a bit longer, and I used the oven for them.
First, slice your fruit of choice thinly and evenly. Then, to help speed up the process, I microwaved the slices on a low setting for 30-45 seconds. I patted them dry with paper towels to remove as much liquid as possible before placing them on parchment paper and popping them in the oven. I set the oven to 200 degrees (F) and then checked on them every hour or so, turning as needed. The oranges took 4-5 hours, and the grapefruit took a bit longer. They can brown quickly, too, so definitely check them more toward the end.
You can use dried citrus for a lot of other things, too. I strung up oranges and added them to garland this year, and used them as ornaments last year. Plus, they keep well. I packaged mine up last year with some silica packs in Ziploc bags, and they were as good as new when I pulled them out of storage. And if you don’t want to DIY this, I found dried citrus options available for purchase. (The grocery store is way cheaper though.)
It took me a few tries to get my recipe right. I found adding too much spice really overpowered everything and gave me a headache, but this combination was just right. Here is my favorite recipe:
- 2 orange slices
- 1 lemon slice
- 1 grapefruit slice
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- a handful of cranberries (dried for gifting)
- A few cloves, one star anise, and one whole nutmeg
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
When you’re ready, just add 2-4 cups of water, bring to boil, and then let simmer as long as desired. I’ve also added a few drops of vanilla extract, and really like that too. But this will make your whole home smell like the holidays–warm and cozy, bright but spicy.
Turn it into a gift!
Here are the other supplies I used to create giftable simmer pot kits:
- small jars (other options: these jars, or clear bags work well too)
- cute labels
- plain gift tags (these are large enough to fit the printable labels I created!)
- printable labels
- twine or ribbon
- bonus: include a small pot for simmering! (Back up option 1, option 2.)
I created a recipe label template that fits the gift tags I linked that you can download by clicking the button below to make this even easier to recreate!
Once you have all of your supplies, just assemble as many jars as you need. I love this as a teacher gift, hosting gift, for neighbors, friends, or as a party favor.
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