Making an orange pomander before Christmas has become a little tradition in our family. It is such a relaxing, simple little craft that gathers everyone around the table for some quality time together, AND the best part is the AMAZING AROMA it produces.
This is a super simple holiday craft that the whole family can make. What I love about it, is that there is no set pattern or design to go by and they are quick to make. It’s actually quite relaxing and therapeutic.
Place several of these little orange/clove gems into a basket or bowl to make a beautiful holiday centerpiece, or I love the look of a single pomander sitting on a cabinet or shelf. Add a bow and a little note and they make a practical and usable homemade gift. I’ve even seen them added to a Christmas wreaths and hung on a Christmas tree.
What is an orange pomander?
The Orange Pomander is a fragrant spiced fruit that is popularly used as decor, incense, and a gift during the Fall and Winter Holidays
The word “pomander” derives from the French pomme d’ambre, meaning “apple of amber”—a reference to the round shape of the object
“The Pomanders were first recorded in Europe in the Middle Ages and were used as Herbal Amulets that were worn around the neck or placed in the home, with the intention of protecting one from Negative Spirits, Energies, harm, jealousy, envy, and protection from widespread disease.”
How To Make Orange Pomanders
What you need:
- Oranges that are firm, brightly colored, and free of blemishes. (You can also use limes )
- A few toothpicks, paper clips, or other sharp poking instruments
- Whole cloves
- rubber bands
- masking tape/washi tape
- spice preservative mixture
Instructions Orange Pomanders
1 – If you want perfect circles on your pomanders, use rubber bands wrapped around the orange as guides.
You can also place tape around the orange and create your designs in the spaces not covered by the tape. Remove tape when done. The spaces left by the tape can work for placing a ribbon.
2- Or you can freehand your designs and just poke holes in the orange in the shapes you prefer.
You can create spirals, circles, stars, and snowflake shapes. Use your imagination!
Try to keep the holes 1/8-1/4-inch (the size of a head of cloves) apart. The orange will eventually “mummify” and shrivel and shrink, so you need to leave some room for the contraction to happen. You don’t want the cloves too close together.
Work in sections. When the design in one section is complete, immediately push the cloves into the pre-made holes.
How long does an orange pomander last?
Fresh pomanders will last about a week. Rotate the fruit often to prevent mold and discard them if they become moldy. By refrigerating them at night, you will prolong the life of the fresh fruit. I recommend making a few one week, and then making another one or two the next week, to space it out a bit.
You can also use a “spice mixture” to preserve the orange pomander for several months or some say even years. Place your finished pomander in a bowl with the ground spices and, using a spoon, start to coat the entire ball.
Brush off the excess with a crafting paintbrush. It will smell divine.
Spice mixture for longer-lasting pomanders:
- 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons ground allspice
- 1/4 cup powdered orrisroot (this ingredient is optional but will help the pomanders last extra long — find it in well-stocked drug stores and herb shops.
To make the pomander balls last even longer, you can dry them. There are several methods to choose from for drying. The easiest and fastest way is to use a dehydrator.
Dry the pomanders on low to medium heat, about 100° to 115° until the fruit is hard. The dried pomander ball will feel light and sound hollow when you tap on the fruit.
I hope you enjoy making these as much as I do.