Monday, December 1, 2014

How to Advent 2014 - Scented Pine Cones

For 2014 we have decided a two fold Advent Calendar.  On the Backyard Patch Facebook Page we are posting a recipe a day beginning November 30 and continuing through Christmas Day.  Each week will be a different theme.  This week it is appetizers.  Stop over there around 6 pm everyday for the new recipe.

On the Blog we have decided to share a weekly HOW TO.  Each we will have a recipe, gift or decorating item to enhance you holiday and give you a moment to reflect.

Taken in Wisconsin, beautiful Hore Frost

I first shared this recipe in November 2010 on my blog. This year I mentioned that I wanted to make these as gifts and that I needed pine cones and suddenly people are sharing pine cones with me left and right.  I am loving it and made my first batch of scented pine cones last week. I have placed them in a bowl in my entry hallway and what a wonderful scent they have!

Before you make this recipe, I should warn you that if you collect pine cones outside there is a treatment you need to do before you can scent them.  It is quick and easy, but a must!  Place a sheet of parchment on an old cookie sheet.  Spread the cones over the sheet in a single layer and place in a 200 degree oven for 60 minutes. This will remove much of the pitch and all of the bugs.

Once you craft these they can be placed in a trifle bowl and used as a centerpiece. They also look great stacked in a basket on the mantle.  From there you can even toss them into the fire for a crackle and scent.  I have also placed them in a burlap bag just to give off the scent from under my tree.  This is especially good if your cones are less attractive or have broken and smashed side.  Then I know I am going to do this, I do not even worry about collecting "only the good ones!"

So let's get to the task.  Once you have baked the pine cones you are ready to mix.
I let the cones cool thoroughly, leaving them on the parchment paper which allows the pitch to continue dripping out.

Step One - Cool the cones completely.  

Notice how they open up after being in the oven enhancing their attractiveness.

Step Two -   Mix the essential oils with orris root or arrowroot flour in a jar, shaking well to blend. Set aside. I used a bit of clove, rosemary, clove and sweet orange (about 5 drops each) and those called for in the recipe.

Step Three - Combine the herbs and spices in a zip lock bag.

Step Four - Add the pine comes to the bag.  About 10 to 15 depending on size, but I generally fill the bag.

Step Five - Add the scented powder to the bag and shake vigorously.

Step Six - Using as much patience as possible, allow the pine cones to meld in the bag for a week or so.

Step Seven - Decorate with them, hang them on your door wreath, or wrap them in cellophane to give as gifts, especially to those you know with a fireplace.

Scented Pine Cones
      2 Tbls. orange peel
      1 Tbls. cinnamon pieces
      1 Tbls. Hibiscus flowers
      1 tsp. broken bay leaves
      1 1 /2 Tbls. orrris root
      10 drops cinnamon oil
      10 drops bergamot oil
      10 to 15 drops any other spice oils of your choice
      10 to 15 pine cones

Mix together the essential oils with the orris root (use arrowroot flour if you are sensitive to orris.)  Blend the herbs and spices together with the pine cones in a zip seal bag.  Add the scented powder and shake to cover.  Allow to meld as long as a week in the bag before using.

Enjoy the scents of the season and have fun this winter!

Come back next Monday for another Advent How TO!

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