My little apple picker! 🙂
And Now on to The Projects…
Homemade Apple & Citrus Boiling Spice
First step…drying the fruit. Sometimes you can find dried fruit slices in craft sores, etc. These are fine. I make my own by drying the sliced fruit in a low temp oven for several hours. You can also layer these in a food dehydrator, if available. I like the oven technique because you get double duty from it. One – you are preparing your fruit, and two – your home smells delicious during the process. (hint: sprinkle a little ground cinnamon on the apple slices before baking for a wonderful seasonal scent!) Slice your fruit as thinly as possible. If the slices are too thick, they will not dry correctly.
(above pic) Line them in a pan or on a baking sheet in a single layer. I use a 250 degree oven, and it takes me about 3-4 hours. All ovens vary, but they will be darker in color and hard in texture when done. The oranges may be slightly mushy while still warm, but will harden as they cool. Once cooled, if you feel they need more drying time – you can pop them onto a microwave safe plate for a few minutes on low heat and this should do the trick.
Some of the ingredients I used are shown above….whole cloves, whole allspice, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, vanilla bean, citrus peel, and my dried apple and orange slices. I also like to use whole star anise and whole nutmeg if they are on hand. Most of these items are most likely right in your pantry or spice cabinet. It’s a great way to use some older spices. There really isn’t a “recipe.” I just start with a palm-full of bay leaves, and throw in 2-3 slices of orange and/or apple slices together with a half-palmful of cloves and allspice, etc. I will then add in 2-3 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces if larger…and a few pinches of citrus peel. One portion of Spice Mix should equal about a cup. I suggest adding one cup of the spice mixture to two cups of apple juice or water. Simmer on low, and add water as needed.
*Disclaimer: please do not use one of your good saucepans. I buy second hand pans b/c this mixture will stain. I also suggest investing in a small potpourri simmering pot as the maintained temperature is ideal. Please never leave a simmering pot unattended.
Project #1 – Decorated Wooden Box / Hostess Gift
(above pic) Here are the “ingredients” for this project. Some watered-down craft paint and a small brush, small craft boxes (I chose a wood box and a paper-mache box), ribbons, leaves, etc, glue gun .
I started out by color-washing the wood box. Simply brush on the watered-down craft paint and wipe off excess paint with a rag. Make sure you also colorwash the inside. Next, glue a criss-cross of ribbon on the lid only, so the box can be easily opened. (see below)
The pic below shows the ribbon after it has been criss-crossed around the lid of the box.
(above pic) I formed two small ribbon loops and glued to the top of the box, along with two gold skeleton leaves. I took a Fall colored silk hydrangea, tore apart individual petals and added them to the top of the box in a layered effect. Any type of flower would work, or change the flower and ribbon color to match any season. Inside….add 1 cup of the Boiling Spice mixture shown below, and a small note with simmering instructions.
…Pretty as a Decorative Box, too, in Your Tablescape!
Project #3 – Spice-Filled Ginger Jar
A small Dollar Store glass ginger jar is filled with this colorful mixture, and simply ties with a brown ribbon. You can add a brown paper bag tag with simmering instructions. These make great gifts for teachers, neighbors and friends. Leave one sitting on a small side table as a sign of the season.
I hope you enjoyed seeing these projects. They are easy and inexpensive ideas which you can adjust as needed to suite your needs. These make great projects for the kids, as well.
“My Mountain Sojourn: Part II” will be available in a few days!
God’s Blessings to You and Yours! ~Barb