How to make an All Purpose Holiday Spice Mix

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In this Festive Season, we all need some short cuts to help keep our spirits high as we try to complete all the tasks we have set for ourselves. Here is an easy-to-assemble versatile mulled spice recipe that will do multiple duty in helping to keep this season ’spicy’ and joyous.

Be sure to make several of the muslin bags at once to have them on hand and readily available for when they are needed. Happy Holidays! (For more holiday entertaining ideas and recipes, check the ‘Category’ section of betweenclosefriends.com)

Holiday House Freshener This recipe yields 1 bag (You can make several bags at once by duplicating the recipe. You can either use spices you have on hand, or purchase them fresh from a bulk food store for the most fragrance and best holiday spirit lifters.)

Basic All Purpose Holiday Mix:

three 3” pieces of cinnamon sticks

1 tsp whole cloves

1 tsp whole allspice

4 pieces whole dried gingerroot (a great way to use up those forgotten ‘knarled’ knobs that you may have lying around……if you don’t have any dried gingerroot nobs on hand, you can use a 1-2″ piece of fresh gingerroot)

1 tsp pickling spice (remove any red pepper pieces first)

small muslin or cheesecloth bag

a length of brightly colored ribbon

1. Mix together all the above dry ingredients.

2. Place the spices in a small muslin or cheesecloth bag, and tie shut with a brightly coloured ribbon.

Either use your Holiday Spice Mix Bag as is, as a wonderfully fragrant and decorative house freshener, or follow one of the suggestions below:

As an Air freshener: (For use as an airfreshener, you may wish to sew the bags shut, rather than tyeing them with a ribbon)

1. Place one muslin or cheesecloth bag of your basic All Purpose Holiday Mix spices into 4 cups of water in a medium-sized enamel saucepan.

2. Bring it to a boil, and boil briskly for 10 minutes.

3. Reduce the heat.

4. Allow your All Purpose Holiday Mix to simmer, filling your home with the wonderful holiday aroma.

%. Add water as is necessary, to prevent the pot from going dry.

You may re-use your spice bag, but make sure that you let it dry completely after each use to prevent it from mildewing or going mouldy.

As a Holiday Spiced punch:

1.Place your All Purpose Holiday Spice Mix Bag in a large pot, and add 4 cups of water.

2. Bring to a boil, then boil for 10 minutes and turn down the heat to a low simmer.

3. Next, add one 46 oz can of pineapple juice and 1 quart apple cider to the simmering spices.

4. Simmer the spices in the juices for 1/2 an hour.

5. Carefully remove the hot spice bag, and strain the juices, adding water if necessary.

6. You can either serve it hot, or let it cool and serve your Holiday Spiced Punch cold.

Float clove-studded orange slices (also add holly leaves or rose petals in ice cubes, for your cold festive punch) in your punch bowl, making sure to include one slice (or ice cube), with each serving. If you wish, add 1 teaspoon of honey or sugar or a candy cane to each serving for a sweeter punch.

To demonstrate the versatility of this punch, it may also be further diluted with either a large bottle of ginger ale, or a bottle of your favourite dry white wine, as your tastes dictate, for evening or party entertaining!

For a Spiced Holiday Tea.

1. Place one of your All Purpose Holiday Spice Mix Bag in a large pot, and add 4 cups of water.

2. Bring to a boil, then boil for 10 minutes and turn down the heat to a low simmer.

3. Remove the spice bag, and strain the liquid.

4. Dilute 2 quarts of the simmered spiced water with 2 quarts of your favorite herbal tea. (more “how-to” recipes–and natural herbal rememdies–are available in betweenclosefriends.com under the ‘Herbal Teas’ category.)

5. Next, add one 6-ounce can of frozen lemonade or limeade, and one 6-ounce can frozen orange juice.

To make this more of a Festive Spiced Holiday Tea, reheat and serve this tea decorated with cinnamon-stick stirrers and small candy canes.

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