Scents and Flavors for the Autumn Season

Posted on October 17, 2009 0

Scents and Flavors for the Autumn Season

Contributed by Lesley Wooler RA

Autumn is upon us and here in New England it is the fall foliage that draws many people to this area of the country for leaf peeping. It is also the time of year when we start to think of the warming herbs, spices and scents. The last day of this month is when children and adults alike celebrate Halloween. For an alternative to the regular trick-or-treat candy, consider hosting a Halloween party offering a selection of harvest/seasonal delectables.

One of the main courses could be pumpkin or squash soup that includes seasonal apples. All of our orange vegetables and fruits are loaded with beta-carotene and Vitamin A. I always include spices such as ginger and nutmeg for flavoring. You could also include or substitute with clove, cardamom and cinnamon. Being an herbalist as well as an aromatherapist, I alternate between using fresh or dried herbs as well as essential oils. But remember a little bit goes a long way.

To satisfy your sweet tooth try making carrot cake or ginger spice cupcakes, using many of the aforementioned spices - a great alternative to sugary candy. For those who are a little more adventurous with their culinary skills and can't imagine Halloween without chocolate, then consider making your own candy. Susan Belsinger has a delicious recipe using organic chocolate, pistachios and cayenne pepper. You can find this recipe in her book "Not Just Desserts - Sweet Herbal Recipes".

You can also make a potpourri for scents and looks using whole cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmegs, cardamom pods and vanilla beans. It shows your guests what the herbs and spices look like and where your essential oils are derived from.

To compliment your harvest feast try diffusing essential oils that coincide with your gastronomic delights. An aromatic diffusion blend to try would be:

  • 4 drops Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)
  • 2 drops Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
  • 2 drops Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
  • 1 drop Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
  • 2 drops Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)
  • 3 drops Blood Orange (Citurs sinensis)
  • 4 drops Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) or Vetitver (Vetiveria zizanoides)

I included the orange as a top note and it compliments the spice oils so well. For a more earthy scent try using patchouli or vetiver. Of course you can always tweak the amounts to suit your own personal tastes.

If irritation occurs discontinue use. Keep out of reach of children and pets.

Lesley A. Wooler B.Sc., RA, CYT earned her degree in Horticulture at the University of RI. She is a Registered Aromatherapist through the Aromatherapy Registration Council and a Regional Director for NAHA (National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy). She serves as President on the council for NEHA (North East Herbal Association) and is also member to the following organizations: United Plant Savers, American Herbalists Guild, American Botanical Council, Herb Society of America, American Horticultural Society and the Rhode Island Wild Plant Society.

Contact Lesley at or visit her website at


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