Tag Archives: dried

Rose Pot Pourri

Rose pot pourriValentines Day has been and gone and by now those beautiful red roses have begun to fade.  It’s a shame to throw them away when they can so easily be dried and used for pot pourri that will last for many, many weeks, if not months ahead.

The time to turn them into pot pourri is really just as the flower heads start to droop and the petals are dropping away because once removed from the stem, the petals are still colourful and beautiful.

There are a few methods for drying flower petals, two of which require patience, one of which is quick and easy.  Here’s the quick and easy method and all it requires is a few pieces of kitchen paper, a microwave and a small bottle of rose essential oil (a scent ‘fixative’ of orris root powder is an optional extra).

Method

Gently separate the petals from the stems and scatter them in a single layer on a microwaveable plate onto which you have placed a piece of kitchen paper.  Microwave on a medium setting for 15 seconds, turn the petals and microwave again for another 15 seconds.  The petals will become a richer, darker colour but shouldn’t be brittle.  I find that I can generally do one bloom at a time like this.

When they’re all done pop them in a plastic bag and scatter with a few drops of rose essential oil, close the top of the bag and gently toss the petals in the bag.  Then preferably leave the bag shut for half an hour or so before use.  Display in pretty, open containers around the house and top up the scent with more drops of essential oil as and when necessary.

If you want to make the scent last longer, you can add approx. one tablespoon of orris root powder per cup of petals just before you sprinkle on your initial dose of rose oil.  Orris root is simply a natural fixative, derived from the root of a species of iris, and can be obtained from many herb supply outlets.

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Filed under General house tips, General tips

Attack of the biscuit beetle

Ooooh!Sooner or later you’re likely to open a packet of flour to do some baking and see tiny little beetles, 2-3mm long, crawling around. Commonly called ‘biscuit beetle’ (Stegobium paniceum), and in the US ‘drugstore’ or ‘bread beetle’ they are, apparently, harmless and unless you see them in large numbers the flour should still be OK to use.  Well that’s the theory.  On the rare occasions I have come across them it has prompted a major session of checking food packets, chucking out and cleaning – but that’s just me.  

It’s important to say that biscuit beetle has nothing to do with cleanliness, so don’t beat yourself up about it if you see some of the little blighters in your kitchen.  The chances are that something you bought contained either the beetle or some eggs, and considering that a single female can lay up to 100 eggs, which will hatch in 1 – 2 weeks, you can see how pretty soon one errant beetle will produce an infestation. They don’t just inhabit flour either, you may well find them on other dried foodstuffs: cereals, pasta, nuts, rice, biscuits; and ordinary sealed packaging is no deterrent because they are able to gnaw their way into new packs.  You can see how pretty soon they can get a foothold in your cupboard!

HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM:

You’re going to need storage containers to store your food in from now on – items like plastic ‘Tupperware’ boxes that you can seal. 

Empty the cupboard and decide whether you want to use anything that you find to be affected. (I’ve already said that my preference is to throw away anything affected and start again).  Modern wisdom seems to be to then use food safe pesticides to treat the cupboard and surrounding surfaces but I can tell you that I don’t  like the thought of pesticides (food safe or not), and all my life I’ve had no further trouble when I’ve used the old-fashioned approach:

Cleared the cupboard, washed all around, including crevices, with hot soapy water (also tackling the counter tops beneath the cupboard) and then either leave the cupboard open to dry very thoroughly or use a hair dryer to make sure that there is absolutely no moisture remaining in it.  Transfer your unaffected food to your plastic, sealable storage containers and then that’s it – you can fill your cupboard again.

Biscuit beetle beaten!

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Filed under General Health, Housework Tips