One whiff of the wonderful scent of a pomander ball is all it takes to get me humming Christmas songs and dreaming of going "home for the holidays." Pomander balls are a Colonial American Christmas tradition, and my mother had us make them for all of our relatives every year. They make very unique gifts, and are great conversation starters as well. So this year I am passing on this tradition by making pomander balls for my in-laws.
So what is a pomander ball? It is simply a piece of fruit, traditionally an orange, that has been pierced by cloves and dried so that it lets off a wonderful aroma. Pomander balls can be used in drawers and closets like a sachet, or used as decorations at Christmastime by hanging them from a mantel or tree, or even just set in an attractive bowl on a table. They will continue to give off their scent for years to come!
Step 1: Gather Supplies
You will need:
1 Medium-sized orange
Whole cloves (1-2 ounces per orange)
Piercing tool (a paper piercer or ice pick work well)
Paper towel or napkins
Note: whole cloves can be kind of expensive to buy in the spice aisle at a grocery store. I buy them from a health food store that sells bulk spices, or you can buy them online.
Step 2: Tie Ribbon Around Orange
Cross-tie the ribbon around the orange. The below directions to cross-tie coincide with the additional pictures for this step:
1. Center ribbon on the top of the orange
2. Hold ribbon in place and turn orange over
3. Cross the ribbon and pull it tight against the orange
4. Turn orange over and bring ribbon together at top
5. Tie a bow
Step 3: Poke Holes
Using the piercing tool, poke holes in the exposed skin of the orange. This might get a little juicy, so do it over the napkin or paper towel. Keep the holes spaced fairly far apart.
Step 4: Insert Cloves
Insert cloves into the holes. They don't need to be that close together, because the orange will shrink as it dries.
Step 5: Done!
The orange will dry out over the next week and will shrink, but it will continue to smell wonderful for years to come!