Each year as soon as the wood stove is being used regularly, I dry a string of orange and apple slices that have been dusted with cinnamon and cloves. The more thoroughly you coat the fruit with the spices, the more fragrance you have. This year I covered them heavily, so much so that you couldn't see the color of the fruit at all.All winter long this garland of nature fills the house with a spicy scent that is subtle but enough to make you sense the holiday season is here. I slice the oranges and dust them in ground cloves. I slice the apples and dust them in cinnamon, then let them dry a day or so. You can use a dehydrator to do this, matter of fact it works quite well. I then string them up, hang them in a nice dry spot and let them do their work of filling the house with the scent of the holiday season. This year I added little bundles of cinnamon sticks tied up with ribbon. Just a simple little holiday project that delights all winter long. I used a 5 lb bag of each fruit to make what you see hanging in the picture, the apples were the small variety, $2 a bag, and the oranges were under $5. The cinnamon from the Dollar store as were the cloves. The cinnamon sticks came from the Mexican market for $2 and I had the ribbon in my stash. The garland cost under $10 !
I do keep these garlands from year to year. They have to be completely dry and stored in a zip lock bag in order to be good for the next winter. I have added a few drops of Cinnamon oil on them the second year to sort of give them a scent boost