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This past week, we were given a bag of oranges. The kids didn’t want to eat them because they were quite sour. This morning, I was glancing through Herb Companion, one of the few magazines I subscribe to, and they mentioned pomanders. I remembered the ones I had encountered, wrapped in ribbon and smelling of spice cake, in my great-grandmother’s closets growing up. I knew they were a traditional Christmas gift and would take a few weeks to dry, so doing them now would be perfect. So I broke out the whole cloves and bamboo skewers, sat the kids down at the dining room table and we went to work.
The basic idea is that you pierce the orange with a nail, needle or skewer to make it easy to push the tip of the clove into the orange. The orange will shrink over time as the clove oil preserves it, so you want to space the cloves about 1/4″ apart. You can make designs or patterns if you like. If you’d like to hang it with a ribbon, you can use some masking tape to cover those places.
Once you are done, dust the orange in ground cinnamon with a little nutmeg, ginger or other spice if you want those smells as well. Leave the oranges in the bowl in a cool, dry place and re-dust them daily for seven days. Over the next 2-3 weeks, the orange will dehydrate.
Once the pomander is completely dehydrated, it will sound hollow when tapped. We will then wrap them in fabric, tie a ribbon around the top and hang each one in a bedroom closet. I’ll be sure to get a picture of the finished products and post it near Christmas.
KerryAnn Foster runs Cooking Traditional Foods, the longest running Traditional Foods Menu Mailer on the internet. KerryAnn has over nine years of traditional foods experience and is a former Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader. Founded in 2005, CTF helps you feed your family nourishing foods they will love. Each mailer contains one soup, five dinners, one breakfast, on dessert and extras. You can learn more about our Menu Mailers at the CTF website. For a free sample Menu Mailer, join our mailing list. You can also join our forum to chat with other traditional foodists and learn more.