The idea for the bracing scent of this potpourri first caught my fancy when I was flipping through a yard sale find — a 1979 cookbook called Herbs from Cultivation to Cooking by the Herb Society of Greater Cincinnati. The original author was Rosella F. Mathieu, but I’ve streamlined the recipe a great deal so you can fix up a batch to freshen a winter clothes cabinet or stale summer cabin air without waiting weeks to assemble the ingredients. Make extra so you can set out a dish in the mildewy basement workshop or your guy’s shoe closet, or use it to fill the car ashtray.
• 1 cup balsam fir needles
• 1 cup dried sweet woodruff
• 1/2 cup patchouli leaves
• 1 tablespoon each fine sandalwood chips and coarsely crushed cloves
• 2 teaspoons styrax oil
• 1 teaspoon lavender oil
Combine needles, woodruff and leaves in a medium mixing bowl. Mix oils in a small bottle (like a baby food jar), close the container and shake well. Use an eye-dropper to dribble the oil mixture onto the dry mixture, turning and stirring with a wooden spoon as you go. Set it out (or in a closet) in flat dishes, and make sure to crumble and crush it with your fingers when you walk by, to release fresh scents.
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