Tuesday, November 15, 2022

It Smells Like the Holidays, Naturally!

The winter holidays are a feast for all of the senses: festive lights and decorations for the eyes, traditional music, children's giggles, jingle bells for the ears, cozy soft clothes for the touch, delicious traditional foods for our taste buds, and the telltale citrus-spice scents for our noses.  Not only do gifts like our Florida Sunshine Box, pictured below, provide a wonderful decorative flair; you can use the fruit to make your home smell just like the holidays! 

The Health Benefits of Smelling the Season...Naturally

Scents are powerful, and this time of year we are often bombarded with advertisements and store displays for sprays, perfumes, room fresheners, petroleum-based candles, and such that promote the holiday spirit. They all seem to have enticing names like "Merry Garland Spices" or "Happy Winter Tidings." Thing is, many of these products are loaded with chemicals that can disrupt the body's endocrine system. Fortunately, we have lots of natural alternatives. From ciders to simmer pots to pomanders to potpourri, citrus is central to the smells of the season, and have a lot of aromatherapy benefits as well.  

What is Aromatherapy?

There is something magical about certain smells, and scientists have figured out why. When we inhale something fragrant, the nose becomes stimulated as the molecules containing the scent enter the lungs and eventually travel to other parts of the body. When they reach the brain, they affect our limbic system, which is linked to our emotions, heart rate, blood pressure, stress, and even the balance of our hormones. Certain scents can affect the limbic system positively, creating a sense of ease in the body and mind. This holistic use of various scents is known as aromatherapy. Bottled essential oils are often used for aromatherapy, but one advantage of whole fruit citrus is that it already has a high concentration of essential oils, especially in their rinds.  Furthermore, mixing the scents of citrus (especially oranges) with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves gives our limbic system a double-dosed message of warmth, comfort, and safety.

Using Good Scents

So now that you have your delicious box of fruits from Florida Fruit Shippers, let's get cooking!  A simmer pot is the simplest and most inexpensive way to bring the scents of the season into your home.  Simply peel the rind off of an orange or two, and place it in a medium-sized pot. You can eat the fruit right away or save for later in the fridge.  Fill the pot about halfway with water, and add a few cinnamon sticks. You can also add some apple and pear peels from our Florida Sunshine Box or Heavenly Seven. Turn the burner onto high and allow the mixture to boil for about one minute. Then, turn the heat down to medium and allow the simmering concoction to infuse your home with the comforting aroma of the season. You can simmer for up to an hour, adding water as needed, and when you are all through, you can drink the liquid portion as a cholesterol-busting, skin-boosting tea.

You can also make a pomander: simply stud an orange profusely with whole cloves. You can even make shapes with the cloves, like spirals, stars, Christmas trees or snowmen. As the fruit dries over time, it releases an alluring sweet-spicy smell. If you want to hang your pomander, you can run a wire through the fruit and shape it as needed.  When the fruit has completely dried, your pomander can be hung on your holiday tree, in your closet, or placed in your drawers for wafts of wonderful fragrance everywhere!

Please Pass the Fruit

The holiday a-peel (yes, I really did use that pun) of citrus has many facets: it's cheerfully colorful to look at, fun to eat, delicious to taste both alone and in traditional recipes, and smells just like the season, especially when paired with spices. So with the holidays coming upon us very quickly, take a deep breath and allow all of your senses to be nourished by your box of seasonal magic from Florida Fruit Shippers



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