03 July 2016

Cost-Free & Chemical-Free

3 Steps to a Fragrant Home

In the summertime, in our region, Zone 7 of the mid-Atlantic, it gets humid. Real humid. Most folks opt to run air conditioners for the season, but we hold off as much a possible. However, a humid house holds onto smells better than conditioned one. So in order to re-up the fresh smells of the homestead (or to get rid of olfactory evidence of the infrequent cooked meal), I have three winning solutions from the stove:

Cinnamon and Cloves 

My mother who is an excellent Caribbean cook gave me this solution a few years ago. She and dad love fresh seafood but abhor making it indoors. This time of year they cook outdoors often, but in the opposite season, they have  no choice but to "smell up the kitchen". Mom's remedy is to simmer a pot of water adding a few Cinnamon sticks (or a tablespoon of the powdered herb), and a few cloves. For some reason, this mixture devours dinner’s odors and lingers in the house like fresh laundered linen.

AND No, the house does not smell like baking, just a subtle spicyness that delights. Plus, you can add citrus peels, other fragrant herbs, and even essential oils to the mix (just don't use cooking extracts).

Sage Water: 

One of my best friends reminded me of this doubly useful fragrant remedy. It is an unexpectedly vibrant air freshener and a disinfectant! I planted four different varieties of Sage in the Orchard and have been wondering what to do with this years abundant harvest. Sage Water...

It's Easy to Make:

  • First, simmer a cluster of fresh-picked Sage leaves in a saucepan releases a gorgeous smell that can fill your entire house. It's surprisingly sophisticated compared to the  raw herb or burnt smudge sticks
  • Save the liquid: shut off the heat when you want to (30 minutes is usually fine for me--the scent will last for hours), let it cool, and bottle it in a spray bottle.
  • Spray as needed

The resulting Sage Water can be sprayed all over the house and on textiles. It refreshes instantly and also disinfects. I'm thinking about replacing my rose water body spritz with this stuff!!

FYI: Lavender Water is also great for this season, but I am not a huge fan of the aroma. I tend to just give away bunches of the flowers with a little notecard on how-to-make this antiseptic, natural air freshener. As a matter of fact:

"Many herbs have potent disinfectant properties, too. Basil, bay, cardamom, clove, coriander, eucalyptus, ginger, hyssop, lavender, lemongrass, oregano, peppermint, rose geranium, rosemary, sage, spearmint, and thyme are cleaning powerhouses. All contain a multitude of plant chemicals that possess antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and antiviral actions."
Why not try out any of these as a simmered, stovetop air freshener and spray?
Learn more: http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/wellbeing/herbs-cleaning

Bake a Cobbler

Okay two things happen here, the dry heat of baking combats some of the interior humidity, making it seem a bit cooler in the house (seriously) AND your house will smell like dessert for hours.

This is my most recent cobbler, made from cherries picked a the Montpelier Orchard. As you can see, the peaches in the orchard will be ready to pick in a week or two. Then guess what…more cobbler!