2-4cinnamon sticks(I used 2 large ones, which is around 4 standard sized sticks)
Optional: Nutmeg pieces(see notes)
Optional: 1 cup fresh cranberries(see notes)
3-4quartswater,enough to fill your pot approximately 3/4 full
Add the oranges, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, nutmeg, and cranberries to a large pot (I used a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven). Fill the pot around 3/4 of the way full with water and set over medium-low heat.
Once the water is simmering, adjust the heat to low to keep the liquid at a very low simmer. The more gentle the simmer, the slower the water will evaporate. Periodically add more water to the pot as it evaporates; don’t let the water level go below 1/3 full.
If you continue to add fresh water periodically, the simmering potpourri will last for hours. If you want a bit more humidity in the air, simmer the mixture over medium-low or even medium heat, but make sure it keep an eye on the water level, which will decrease more quickly.
This is a flexible recipe -All of the ingredient amounts are very flexible depending on what you have and how big the simmering pot is. If you only have one orange, don’t run to the store for another one! Use what you have.The cranberries are for color more than anything else; they make the potpourri look extra beautiful. I recommend holding off on them unless you have guests and/or are trying to use up excess cranberries.Set a Timer -I recommend setting a kitchen timer to refill the water periodically so you don't forget. I start with a 20 or 30 minute timer, and then gage how long to set the remaining timers for based on how much the water has lowered. I often only need to add water every 45-60 minutes, but this will vary based on the size of your pot and how fast the water is simmering.Make-Ahead - You can prep the pot in advance so it's ready to go when you want it, Place the ingredients in the pot (including the water), cover with the lid, and refrigerate for up to 72 hours.
More Optional Add-ins
Vanilla beans (scrape the seeds first to use in recipes!)