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Using What's Available |A Holiday Simmer Pot

Part of what makes Christmas so magical, are the lovely smells that permeate the home. The smell of pine from a freshly cut tree, or the scent of gingerbread coming from an oven that holds delicious cookies. I have vivid memories of the smells of Christmas as a child, and as an adult, I do my best to recreate them.

One of the easiest ways to spark that magical holiday smell in your home, is with a simmer pot. I've made autumn and spring simmer pots, but this year is my first time making one for the holiday season! I had so many grocery items that needed to be used up, so I was very excited to make this.

Full disclosure, the pot is on the stove now, simmering away, and the house smells divine.

The beautiful thing about simmer pots is their versatility, you can use pretty much whatever you have on hand or whatever fruit scraps need to be used up.

Yes, you could look up a recipe for a Winter Simmer Pot on Pinterest, but I think that kind of defeats the purpose of doing things the old fashioned, more traditional way. Wherein you use what is available to you. Don't feel the need to run out to your grocery store to purchase things specifically to make a simmer pot the way I or other bloggers tell you to. Use what you have! That's what I did, and it makes the experience so much more enjoyable.

As you know, I hosted a holiday party a few weekends ago, and I grabbed some persimmons, oranges, and pomegranate to add to my centerpiece. Well, here we are a few weeks later, and I didn't know what to do with the fruit! I didn't plan on eating it, and I had already stripped the dining table so I could clean it.

So this morning, when I looked at the fruit basket still staring at me, I decided to use the fruits I had purchased for the table, in a simmer pot.

Most of the ideas I saw online included cranberries, but I didn't have any on hand. So I decided to use those beautiful pomegranate seeds! I wasn't sure if they'd create a smell at all, but I couldn't see them being any more or less fragrant than a cranberry.

I sliced an orange and a grapefruit for a delicious citrus-y scent and added a handful of pine needles also from my table garland centerpiece!

Finally, I dropped in some fresh cloves and a cinnamon stick, and added ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, and a pinch of allspice.

Then I covered everything with filtered water and put it on the stove to boil!



1 Orange

1 Grapefruit

The seeds of 1 Pomegranate

1 Cinnamon Stick

1 Small Handful of Whole Cloves

Fresh Pine 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Ground Ginger

1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg

Small Handful of Allspice


A Few Tips

  • Use whatever you have! Again, feel free to use my recipe, but the point of this activity is to practice using what you have on hand.

  • Use the scraps in your garden when you're done! They can be a great compost or fertilizer.

  • If you can, use organic ingredients! They aren't sprayed with pesticides and will keep the air in your home fresh.

Step 1:

Slice your fruit and place into the pot of your choice. I chose to use a dutch oven, since it offers the depth needed to simmer for several hours. Not every ingredient is necessary, so again, use what you have!

Step 2:

Bring the pot to a boil and then simmer on low for as long as you desire! Continue adding water as it boils down. Be sure to turn the burner off before leaving your house!




Just a California girl who believes in a good cup of tea, a fresh bouquet of peonies, page turning novels & romanticizing everyday life.

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