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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Freshen Your Home with a Simmer Pot

Did you make Curry in a Hurry last night? Or maybe something with a healthy amount of garlic? It tastes and smells so wonderful at dinner time, but the next morning? Not so much. The stale lingering smell of turmeric, cumin, garlic, and/or onions is anything but pleasant.

Never fear! You can freshen the scent of your home without resorting to chemical sprays or heavily scented candles. Simmer pots are a wonderful weapon against odors in your home.
Simmer pot with clementine, cloves, and vanilla.

They are fast and simple; just throw a few ingredients in a pot with water, and simmer. They are eco-friendly since there are no chemicals, and they utilize kitchen scraps. They are allergen-friendly; many people sneeze or get an itchy nose when exposed to scented candles and sprays. Simply tailor the ingredients to avoid any known allergens (for example, if someone in your home is allergic to nuts, do not use almond extract in your simmer pot). Plus, they are basically free. Just use items already in your pantry and refrigerator.
Mmmm...everything needed for an apple-clementine-vanilla-cinnamon-clove simmer pot.

Make your simmer pot by first choosing one or more fruits:

  • lemons
  • limes
  • oranges/clementines
  • grapefruit
  • apples
  • cranberries
  • apple juice or cider
  • lemon juice
You may use whole fruit, roughly chopped fruit, or just the peels. This is a great use of those overripe goodies sitting  in the fridge at the bottom of your fruit drawer.

Then choose one or more seasonings:
  • cinnamon sticks (or ground cinnamon)
  • whole cloves
  • nutmeg
  • star anise
  • bay leaves - citrus and bay leaves are a good pairing
  • rosemary (fresh or dried)
  • mint leaves
  • fresh ginger
  • vanilla extract 
  • almond extract
  • a flavored-tea bag

The directions couldn't be easier:

  1. Fill a saucepan halfway with water; add your fruit and seasonings.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. Set a timer every 30 minutes or so as a reminder to add more water as necessary. It's also a good idea to put a sticky note on your door as a reminder to turn off the simmer pot if you leave.

Even one or two ingredients will smell wonderful. When I was in high school, my psychology class was held in the Home and Careers classroom. I remember one day, someone had burned a dish in an earlier class so my teacher kept a pot simmering with water and ground cinnamon. So simple, yet it worked so well to conquer the residual scent of burnt food. And now I keep seeing simmer pots everywhere. I think it's safe to say this trick is time-tested.

If you like using simmer pots, it's easy to keep the ingredients on hand. Start a freezer bag for apple skins and citrus peels. Freeze leftover juices and cider in an ice cube tray, then pop the cubes into the freezer bag as well. When you're ready to simmer, grab a handful of scraps from your freezer bag.

Do you have a garbage disposal? As a bonus, you can use your simmer-pot remnants to freshen your garbage disposal, too. The ingredients will be softened at this point, so just pour the contents of the pot down the drain and run your disposal.

What are your favorite simmer pot ingredients? Post a Comment and let us know.

Enjoy your simmer pot, and as always, thanks for reading.

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