Monday, February 3, 2014


I love the fresh scents in potpourri but with allegories I have to be careful which scents and spices I purchase. Below are several recipes from Mrs. Roundell's Practical Cookery Book ©1898

Pot-Pourri.—(Family Recipe.)—Take six pounds of baysalt beaten fine, some bay and laurel leaves, the red part of gillyflowers, thyme, balm, sweet marjoram, violets, plenty of damask roses (petals and stamens), sweet verbena, and any other sweet flowers well dried in the sun. Put all these into a large china jar, sprinkling the salt among them. In a short time they will become moist. Stir them once a day for some time, adding more bay salt, and keeping the jar closely covered. When all the flowers have been put in, add four ounces of orris-root sliced, two ounces of cloves, and the rinds of three Seville oranges and three lemons well beaten. Add bergamot flowers, jessamine and myrtle flowers and leaves, and orange flowers or syringa flowers, well dried, at any time. Stir all well together after each addition. Always keep some of the old to start the new jar.
Dorothea Roundell's Sweet Jar.—(Family Recipe.)—If
you have any left of a former sweet-pot, put a layer of fresh on this. Use rose-leaves well dried, sweet verbena leaves, sweetscented geranium leaves, and any other sweet-smelling leaves (all thoroughly dried), and plenty of dried lavender blossoms. The jar would be greatly improved by a few buds of orange-blossom. Put in one layer of these, then scatter some bay-salt crushed, but not pounded very fine, and pour a little spirits of wine over. Then put another layer in the same way with bay-salt and spirits of wine between each till you have filled the jar. After it has stood about a week turn it all out and mix well together, then put it back again for about three weeks more. Then turn it out again, mix it, and settle it in the jar.
Another Sweet Jar.—(Family Recipe.)—Half a pound of baysalt, a quarter of a pound of saltpetre and of common salt. All to be well bruised and put on six baskets of rose leaves, twenty-four bay leaves torn to bits, a handful of sweet myrtle leaves, six handfuls of lavender blossoms, a handful of orange or syringa blossoms, the same of sweet violets, and the same of the red of clove carnations. After having been well stirred every day for a week add half an ounce of cloves, four ounces of orris-root, half an ounce of cinnamon, and two nutmegs, all pounded, put on the roses, kept well covered up in a china jar, and stirred sometimes.
Another Pot-Pourri.—(Family Recipe.)—Take the flowers of lavender, also lemon thyme, sweet marjoram, rosemary, bay leaves, myrtle leaves, violets, clove pinks, orange flowers and roses, both blown and buds. All flowers picked from the green, excepting orange flowers. Add shred orris-root, benzoin, storax, and a Seville orange stuck with cloves. To be at least a twelvemonth before it is used. Add bruised bay salt, also an ounce of cloves and an ounce of nutmeg to improve the perfume.
(Orris-root is the root of the Iris Florentina of Southern Europe. Benzoin and Storax are balsamic resins, produced by two different varieties of the Styrax tree of Greece and Asia Minor.)
Pot-Pourri.—(Old Worcestershire Recipe.)—Put in a large china jar in layers, with bay salt between each layer, the following ingredients: Two pecks of roses (part in buds, part blown), a handful of jessamine and orange flowers), two ounces orris-root sliced, storax and gum-benjamin, a quarter of a pound of angelica root sliced, a quart of the red part of clove gillyflowers, bay and laurel leaves, three Seville oranges stuck as full of cloves as possible (dried in a cool oven and pounded), a handful of knotted marjoram, and two handfuls of balm of Gilead dried. Cover it all quite close for some weeks. When opened the perfume will be very fine.
(Gum-benjamin is, of course, another name for benzoin.)
I would impress upon all makers of Pot-Pourri to depend on the natural scents yielded by the flowers and the spices, and never to add scents bought at a shop.

Another source: The Country House ©1883
1. Have the rose-leaves and lavender well dried—each separately— before they are mixed en masse with the rest. Above all things, let no bay salt be used. This is the cause of pot-pourri always, after a time, emitting a disagreeablo and heavy scent. Add to the leaves everything that is sweet in itself, and gains no bad smell by being dried—as violets, jessamines, and geranium leaves, many of the small-leaved pelargoniums, roses, bay-leaves, sweet rush, or acarus, both in the dried root, in thin slices, and the flag. Never omit plenty of the clove-pink, as it preserves its colour as well as its soent. As to proportions, say to 21b. of well-dried flowers add Joz. (each) of bruised cloves and cinnamon, and cascarilla bark; and loz. (each) of dried sweet rush, sandal-wood chips, dried orange and lemon peel, pounded irisroot, gum benzoin, gum elemin, frankincense, gum mastic, and at least 100 grains of musk, which brings out the odour of the sweet things it is associated with.
2. The following recipe for pot-pourri is first-rate: Coriander seeds, 3dr.; rose leaves, sweet flag root, and orris root, of each Joz.; gum benzoin, Joz.; oil of cinnamon, oil of cloves, of each 30 drops; musk, 4gr.; lavender flowers, £oz.; the whole to be well mixed together and put through a coarse sieve.
3. One oz. of each of the following ingredients powdered: Orris root gum benjamin, storax, and cloves, Joz. nutmegs grated, Joz. orange rind (also grated), 21b. fine bay salt. Gather all the sweet-scented flowers and leaves you can get, dry them slightly in the shade, then put them in a pan in layers, strewing the salt and spices between each layer; cover the pan close for a few days, then stir the pot-pourri well up and put it into your jars.
4. Dry roso leaves in the shade, then lay them in your pot with salt between every layer of leaves; add to it dried orange-peel pounded with cloves, mace, and cinnamon. Add dried lavender.

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