With chilly nights setting upon us this time of year, how about pulling up a chair fireside and crafting some pomanders? These delightfully scented decorations are easy to make and very practical too. They are a natural air freshener for your closets and drawers and make a beautiful holiday decoration at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Pomanders were the original aromatherapy dating back to the 15th century. It was believed they were protection against infection in times of pestilence. Since bathing and hygiene were rare in those days, pomanders served to modify bad smells prevalent in 15th century life. Many wore them around their necks in cases of gold or silver.
Nowadays we make them simply for the enjoyment of their designs and the clean, citrus smell that fill the room. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Let’s start making some! You will need oranges, lemons or limes, a skewer, whole cloves and various strings and ribbons. Compare pricing for whole cloves to get the best deal as they can get pricey. I also like to use clementines, tangerines and crab apples for variety and because they use less cloves.
Here is where you get creative. Decide if you want to completely cover the fruit in cloves or create a design on the fruit. You can use 3 pieces of fruit and stud each one in letters to spell out the word “joy”. Tape it out or draw it on the fruit. Use your skewer to poke holes in the fruit and put the cloves in the holes. You could make the holes just by pushing the clove into the fruit but your fingers won’t last that long and you will break more cloves than you will use. At this point, you may tie ribbons or twine around the ball to hang it or just put it in a bowl.
If you would like the pomanders to last a long time, roll them in a spice mix after you have finished studding them. Mix together equal amounts of cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, orris root and ground ginger. Set the pomander aside in a cool, dry spot for about 3 weeks. The pomander is ready when knocking on the fruit with your knuckles produces a hollow sound. The pomanders are also nice if you do not roll them in spices for preservation.
Have fun displaying them in a pretty bowl, or hanging them in doorways or closets. Group them together on the mantel, hang them from the Christmas tree or give as gifts. Try floating them in a punch bowl at your next party.
Now get some supplies and go have fun with this. Your fingers will be sticky and smell like oranges when you are done, but you will have created a lovely holiday decoration with lots of history behind it. Enjoy!