Rosemary is an herb that is know for its aromatic leaves and blue-gray foliage. Its attractive growth habit and scent make it ideal for use in the home garden. However, its usefulness extends well past the landscape. Rosemary is often used for culinary, medicinal, and aromatic purposes. The leaves dry easily and retain their fragrance once the moisture is gone. By combining it with complimentary herbs and spices, you can create a handmade potpourri for your home.
Trim fresh stems from your rosemary plant during the early morning hours using a pair of gardening shears. For 1 cup of dried rosemary leaves, you will need to harvest 4 cups of fresh leaves. Do not remove more than 20 percent of the plant's bulk during clipping. If you cannot harvest enough fresh rosemary leaves, you can purchase more from a local greenhouse or grocery store.
Spread a piece of newspaper on a flat surface. Strip each rosemary stem of its leaves. Hold the tip of the stem in one hand and use the thumb and forefinger of the opposite hand to pinch just under that. Run the pinched fingers down the length of the stem while holding it over the newspaper. The leaves should easily fall off onto the newspaper. You may want to wear a pair of gardening gloves to avoid any splinters.
Place three layers of newspaper in an area that is dry and dark. The area should also receive plenty of ventilation. Transfer the rosemary leaves onto the new layers of newspaper. Spread the leaves so they are thinly and evenly spaced.
Check your leaves one to two times daily. Use your fingers to gently stir and redistribute the leaves each time you check them. Your leaves should be dry after three to four days.
Peel one orange with a knife. Tear the peel into strips and place on the newspaper with the drying rosemary leaves. Let sit for two to three days until dry.
Place 1 cup dried rosemary leaves into a mixing bowl. Crush the leaves gently with a wooden mallet to release their fragrance. Add 1 cup dried lavender, 16 whole cloves, and the dried strips of orange peel. Gently mix together using your hands.
Pour the potpourri into a decorative jar for display. Store any unused potpourri in a plastic bag. Place the bag in a cool, dry, dark area until needed.
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