Make a Christmas Gift of Sweet Air with a Pomander

There are some extremely simple things to make that I can’t help but love. One of them is the scent of a pomander creating a wonderful aroma throughout the area. I’ve always used an orange to make the pomander, but you can use a tangerine, apples, grapefruit, or lemon. It really doesn’t matter what variety, but one with a thicker flesh seems to have more oil.

Clip masking tape to the width of ribbon that you are going to wrap around the pomander. You will need about 2 feet of ribbon and the best width is between 1/8 inch and 1/2 inch. Tape all the way around the orange from top to bottom, dividing it in half. Tape it again, dividing it now, into quarters. Poke holes with a nail, close to the tape and insert a long stem clove in the hole. Do a second hole and clove and put the cloves as close together as possible. Now that you know how far to space them, remove the first two cloves and continue all the way around the fruit until it is completely covered in holes. Roll the fruit in a mixture of 1 tbsp each nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves, cinnamon, and orris root. Orris root is nothing more than dried ground Iris rhizomes that are used as a fixative for the scent. Some people are allergic to it, so if you are gifting this to someone prone to allergies, it may be better to add a different fixative such as non iodized course pickling salt or roll the orange first in sandalwood oil and then in all the other spices but the orris root.

You may want to put a bit of tape or band-aid on the tip of your pushing finger, since it really hurts after pushing about 20 into the hole and you may have as many as 400 to push. Once it is filled with cloves, repeat the process of rolling it in the spices.

Remove the tape. You can gift it as is, and allow it to air dry but there is a big chance that it will mold or go bad. The best bet is to cure the orange. You can use a food dryer to do this, setting the dryer on high and leaving it in for three full days. It should feel light. You can also oven dry the pomander, by setting the oven on 175 and leaving it in with the door slightly open until it feels light to lift. It doesn’t take as long as the food dryer. If using the oven dry method and you have a gas oven, you should of course turn the oven off if you are gone, but leave the pomander in and allow the pilot to dry it also. With an electric oven, keep an eye on it, and turn the oven off while out. You can continue when you are around. Reroll the pomander in the spice mixture on a daily basis for a few days.

Once the pomander is complete, it is time to decorate the fruit. Wrap the pomander with ribbon where the tape had been. Tie the ribbon at the top and leave 6″ or 7″ of ribbon above the fruit as a hanger. Knot it where you wish the hanger to end. Decorate around the ribbon with dried flowers and leaves. Mint leaves or bay leaves add additional fragrance and a small dried rose bud adds elegance. You can use smaller flowers to fill in such as purple statice, yarrow, and baby’s-breath. Use a glue gun to glue close to the knot in the ribbon directly at the top of the fruit. Glue the fragrant foliage first and then glue the larger flowers, adding smaller ones last and creating an even distribution around the top.

Spray the final product with a floral fixative.

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