Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pomanders Perfected

What is a pomander? Up until recently, I referred to pomanders as "those smelly shriveled oranges stabbed with a zillion cloves." Very scientific and exact, don't you think? Once I discovered that they had an actual name, I became curious about the pomander. So, as any self-respecting young adult in the 21st century would do, I looked it up on Wikipedia.

Oh, Wikipedia! I couldn't have made it through college without you...  Flaming Portuguese Flamingos Treatise of 1745... What the heck is that and why is it going to be on the test?!?! I don't remember learning about that in any of my history classes... Hmm, let's  check Wikipedia.

So, according to Wikipedia, a pomander is essentially a sphere of smelly goodness. During the Middle Ages & Renaissance, people used to wear perforated spheres filled with perfumes & spices on a chain around their neck. In addition to supposedly warding off pestilence, the pomander served the purpose of spreading a nice aroma around the smelly person. Back in the day when everyone threw their refuse in the street, people could hold their pomanders in front of their nose to cover up the stench while walking down the road. Today, pomanders are typically either a sphere of flowers or a citrus fruit dried with cloves.

After reading a Buzz post filled with tips for making pomanders, the following comment exchange took place between myself and Mrs. Five Camels with regards to our Thanksgiving plans...

Nov. 23

SarahI LOVE making these things!!! and they smell so good!!!! I'm glad you posted this, because I've had many finger vs. clove injuries in the past. I think the thumbtack will help.
CarolineI'm not sure we have enough cloves to make these...
SarahI'm almost sure they can be procured... ;)
CarolineYour right... Do you think approximately 24 oz of cloves might suffice?
SarahHas Stephen been grocery shopping again??
CarolineSadly, yes. That's what's left over from last years orange pomanders...
SarahYou bring the cloves, I'll bring the fruit. My mom loves doing these things. :)
CarolineSeriously? Deal. I've got a bag of lemons that need to be used in the fridge. I can bring those too.
Caroline - Umm... I was wrong... we have closer to 36 oz of whole cloves. !?!?!
SarahI'm so excited!!! :)

Yeah... I wasn't joking about those 35 oz of cloves. My husband is crazy and likes to buy things in bulk. Like the time he bought 576 candy canes for his sister Theresa. It's a problem. I'm signing him up for Bulk Buyers Anonymous.

So, during the Thanksgiving holiday Mrs. 5C and I decided we would make pomanders together with our sister Theresa . We poked clementines & lemons with thumbtacks and then stuck whole cloves into the holes. We quickly decided that thumbtacks didn't make large enough holes to save our finger tips from the spikey cloves, so we switched over to bamboo skewers. They are slightly wider and work much better.

Then, Stephen started using a large nail to poke the holes. That worked best!

You can place the cloves in whatever pattern you like. Go crazy!

Have fun with it!

Keep in mind, though, that the pretty orange rind is going to dry out, shrink, and turn brown.

So, a lot of the time, we like to cover the whole fruit with the cloves. That way, you don't have to look at the shriveled brown part. And it's less likely to mold while you wait for it to dry out.

Another thing you can do is roll the clove covered fruit in ground cinnamon. This adds to the scent and aids in the drying process.

If you really want to speed up the drying process, you can put the fruit in the oven on the proof setting (super low oven temperature) for a few hours. Additionally, if you put a nail or wooden skewer through the fruit while it dries, then you can put a string or ribbon through it to hang it up when it's done.

They make great Christmas ornaments and they smell spiffy too!

Oh, one more thing... Even if your cloves container says this on the lid:


Don't listen to it.

Because they aren't all that yummy on their own... But they do last for years!


  1. yay! cloves! :) I like your spiffy ornament!

  2. I absolutely just love reading your blogs and all the crafts you do with your family :) I think I shall try this :)


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