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Halloween DIY: Homemade Simmer Sack

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As we’ve discussed before in previous posts, Hell isn’t exactly the most pleasant smelling place, which is why I love projects that smell amazing.  We’ve also discussed my undying love for being lazy (sloth is still one of my favorite deadly sins), and projects that are both cheap and easy to do always rank high on my list.  To that end, these simple simmer sacks are the perfect project!

Not only are they simple and affordable to assemble, but they also smell amazing!  On top of that, you’ll end up with about 6 of them when you’re done based on this recipe, which means you’ll have plenty for yourself and a few extras if you want to hand them out to your more odiferous friends (because nothing says ‘you stink’ quite like handing someone something that smells better than they do!)

Before we get started, I should let you know, **This post contains affiliate links.
Read my full disclosure here.

To make your own simple simmer sacks you will need:

  • 2 large oranges
  • 1/4 cup whole star anise
  • 1/8 cup whole cloves
  • 24 bay leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 12 cinnamon sticks
  • Vanilla extract (amount TBD)

You’ll also need 6 small drawstring cotton bags.

If you want to decorate your simmer sacks, you should also have a permanent ink stamp pad and appropriate stamp.  This is purely optional.

To start, you’ll need to dry out your oranges.

Pre-heat your oven to as low as it can go (usually around 170-200F/76-93C depending on your oven.)  You could go higher with your temperature (all the way up to 250-275C/121-135C) and speed the whole process up, but you run the risk of evaporating all the natural oils in the orange rind…and that’s the stuff that makes this smell so damn good.

While your oven is warming up, wash, dry and then slice your oranges, peel and all, into approximately 24 slices no thicker than 1/4 inch.  If your oranges have seeds, you can pick them out.  This is purely optional, and as I am lazy, I just left mine in.

Arrange your slices on a cookie sheet.  Stud your orange slices with cloves and then sprinkle with your ground cinnamon.

Slide your cookie sheet into your oven and let it coast for about 6 hours, checking and flipping your slices occasionally to ensure even drying.  Depending on how big your oranges are, and how thick your slices are, they can take anywhere from 4-6 hours to completely dry out.  You want them to be dry, but not desiccated or crumbly.

If you want to decorate your sacks, go ahead and do so now while your oranges are dehydrating.  I suggest using permanent ink on your stamp pad so it doesn’t bleed off when you get the sacks wet later.

When your orange slices are completely dry, allow them to cool on a wire rack before moving onto the final steps.

To assemble your simmer sacks, divide up your ingredients evenly into however many sacks you plan on making and fill each one up.  I found my cotton bags could hold about 4 orange slices, a stick and a half of cinnamon, 4 bay leaves, and my spices while still leaving room to tie tightly at the top.

Once your bag is stuffed, tie the drawstrings tightly using a good solid double knot…and that’s it.

No, really.  You’re done!

To use the simmer sack, fill a pot with water and toss in one of your sacks and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract.  Boil for a few minutes to really get the smell going, then drop the temperature down to just a simmer.  Allow your simmer sack and pot of water to simmer all day, simply checking occasionally to make sure there is enough liquid in the pot (don’t let it dry completely out, you run the risk of starting a fire).

Each simmer sack can last for up to a week.  Simply replace the water and tablespoon of vanilla each day and store the simmer sack you’re reusing in the fridge at night.

Side note: this is a “smells good but not edible” simmer sack recipe, NOT a “smells good and tastes even better” mulled cider or wine recipe…so before you think you can toss the final product into a pot of apple juce or cheap wine and get all fancy and shit, let me stop your right now and say HELL NO…or at least, not without a few adustments, starting with making sure you’re using a food grade simmer sack or tea bag, omitting the stamping with ink (eew), substituting vanilla bean for the bay leaves, and adding in some allspice berries, dried lemon peel, and some crystalized ginger.  Now THAT is a good mulled wine/cider simmer sack.

Bone Appetite!

Halloween DIY: Necro-Crafting a Simmer Sack

Ingredients

  • 2 large oranges
  • 1/4 cup whole star anise
  • 1/8 cup whole cloves
  • 24 bay leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 12 cinnamon sticks
  • Vanilla extract (amount TBD)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to as low as it can go (usually around 170-200F/76-93C depending on your oven.)
  2. While your oven is warming up, wash, dry and then slice your oranges, peel and all, into approximately 24 slices no thicker than 1/4 inch.
  3. Arrange your slices on a cookie sheet. Stud your orange slices with cloves and then sprinkle with your ground cinnamon.
  4. Slide your cookie sheet into your oven and let it coast for about 6 hours, checking and flipping your slices occasionally to ensure even drying. Depending on how big your oranges are, and how thick your slices are, they can take anywhere from 4-6 hours to completely dry out. You want them to be dry, but not desiccated or crumbly.
  5. When your orange slices are completely dry, allow them to cool on a wire rack before moving onto the final steps.
  6. To assemble your simmer sacks, divide up your ingredients evenly into however many sacks you plan on making and fill each one up.
  7. Once your bag is stuffed, tie the drawstrings tightly using a good solid double knot…and that’s it!
  8. No, really. You’re done!
  9. To use the simmer sack, fill a pot with water and toss in one of your sacks and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. Boil for a few minutes to really get the smell going, then drop the temperature down to just a simmer. Allow your simmer sack and pot of water to simmer all day, simply checking occasionally to make sure there is enough liquid in the pot (don’t let it dry completely out, you run the risk of starting a fire).
  10. Each simmer sack can last for up to a week. Simply replace the water and tablespoon of vanilla each day and store the simmer sack you’re reusing in the fridge at night.
http://eatthedead.com/2017/12/21/halloween-simmer-sack/

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THIS WORK IS LICENSED UNDER A Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial, No-Derivatives 2.5 International License.  You’re welcome to make anything and everything showcased on the Necro Nom-nom-nomicon, but may not do it for commercial or financial gain.  You may not copy, distribute or modify these recipes in any way without express written permission from the Necro Nom-nom-nomicon.  No recipe, tutorial or project may be used for commercial or profit use.

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