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  • Writer's pictureKate

Activity of the day: Traditional “wet” potpourri

We've made lots of simple dried potpourri mixes and all sorts of other things from herbs and flowers, but for some reason have never made the most traditional type of wet potpourri.

This dates back probably to at least medieval France- a time when the salt needed would have been a really expensive ingredient.

Helpfully, it's not so pricey now- because quite a lot is needed, depending upon the recipe you use. Some have thin layers of flowers between thick layers of salt- others are mostly flowers and just use the salt to stop them going off. Some recommend stirring, pressing or topping-up- others emphatically say you shouldn't do any of the above.

So here is our first attempt- which at the very least looks and smells lovely at the moment- we'll report back on if it ferments and turns into a proper wet potpourri some time soon!

And for extra reference, here's one of the middling-type instructions it's based on (kind of).


  • Lots of fragrant flowers or herbs, orange or lemon peel, spices- anything you like the smell of, but quite a lot needs to be fresh- ie still containing water- otherwise the potpourri won't be able to ferment-which is the whole point of wet potpourri.

  • Salt


  1. Leave the wet herbs to wilt for at least a few hours

  2. Layer into a jar (any kind, as long as it has a lid) with salt, pressing well (all the shown ingredients squished into the jar).

  3. Leave for a few weeks, stirring as you wish.

  4. Smell!

You can apparently press it, top it up, add salt, drain liquid- there are so many variations in the instructions - and it's such an old thing to do - that it must have been reinvented lots of times and been found to work in lots of different ways.

I'm looking forwards to experimenting with this!

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