Mulling Spices

What smells like Christmas to me?

That’s easy…cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.

What tastes like the holidays to me?

That’s easy…something warm, spicy and mulled.

These mulling spice mixes are easy to make and you can assure the freshness of all the flavors involved.    To make small mulling packets to give as gifts, follow the recipe below.

Dried Mulling Spice Mix
slightly adapted from Canadian Living

8 slices ginger
Rind of one orange
Rind of one lemon
12  whole cinnamon sticks (2-3 inches long)
1/4 c.  whole cloves
2 T.  whole allspice

Peel ginger and slice into eight 1/8 inch slices.   Carefully using a vegetable peeler, make rind strips from the orange and the lemon.  (Slice orange and lemon to dry as well for another recipe or for potpourri.)

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Dry ginger and rind in a food dryer or convection oven.   If using a convection oven, set temperature to 170 degrees and dry for 3-4 hours, flipping fruit along the way. Turn off the oven and leave the fruit inside overnight to cool and firm up.*
Dried orange, lemon, and ginger pieces.

Dried orange, lemon, and ginger pieces.

Break ginger, rinds and cinnamon sticks into small pieces.  The easiest way to break the cinnamon sticks is to place them on a rimmed baking sheet and use a rolling pin.

This smells so good!

Mix with spices.
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Scoop one-quarter of the mix onto center of a four-inch square of  double thickness cheesecloth; bring ends up and tie with string. Repeat with remaining mix with three more squares.

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*Watch the rind peels carefully.   I pulled out my orange peels after only one hour.   The lemons (which were a bit thicker) too longer but I pulled them early as well.   The ginger took the entire time.

Give one of these small packets of goodness along with a bottle of old vine zinfandel  or a jug of apple cider.
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For easier gift giving (especially if mailing or traveling), put one batch in a small jar and include some cheese cloth squares.
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Did you notice the wine label?   This is a fun spot in southeastern Oklahoma:   Girls Gone Wine.    On a recent visit, I stocked up on wine for the holidays and to give out to some special friends (with mulling spices, of course.)

For a fresh version to use right away, use this recipe:

Fresh Mulling Spices

1 slice (1 inch) ginger
1 t. whole cloves
1 t. whole allspice
3 cinnamon sticks, (3 inches) smashed
3 slices (1 inch) orange
3 slices(1 inch) lemon

Place ginger slices and spices in a spice ball and drop into large sauce pan with wine or cider. Float orange and lemon slices.  Heat and simmer for thirty minutes. Remove spice ball and serve.  Garnish drinks with the citrus spices.
Really, I would bottle this smell if I could.   I wish I had Smell-o-Vision for the blog.
Have a pot of this potable simmering on the stove during your next holiday get-together and your house will smell warm and inviting.

For some reason, I cannot get Cyndi Lauper’s “Feels Like Christmas” out of my head today.   Here, I want to share the joy with you as well.

It feels like Christmas
Just like Christmas
It feels like Christmas with you…

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