Eleanor’s Orange Christmas Pomanders

christmas-pomanderTo those who treasure Christmas and family, the most priceless gifts are never high-ticket items. And if we’re honest, we’ll admit that who the gift is from can add immensely to the value.

My favorite present – one that I anxiously look for every year as soon as my Christmas box arrives from my mother and sister, now living 1000 miles away – is a simple dried orange studded with cloves, a loop of decorative ribbon attached. I know by the fragrance, the moment I open the box, if there are any of my mother’s special Orange Pomanders in there.

My mother started making them every Christmas, after reading an article in a woman’s magazine back when I was a little girl. Her recipe has evolved over the years, but whenever she asks me what I want for Christmas, I always tell her the same thing: “I don’t care if you send me nothing else – just don’t forget my Christmas Orange!”

I’ve used them in:

  • Closets and wardrobes
  • Linen cupboards and drawers
  • Bowls of decorative pine cones or pot pourri
  • On the Christmas tree, as easy Christmas ornaments

My mother no longer uses the cinnamon or orris root – she’s got drying the oranges down to a fine art. (She says the key to drying them correctly without the orris root fixative is to stud the oranges completely – leave no bare patches of skin.) These un-powdered ones are the ones I hang in my closet, with my clothes.

I make them myself too now, since I love the scent – but the one that arrives in my mother’s Christmas Box is the most valuable one of all!

Eleanor’s Christmas Orange Pomanders

(6) whole, fresh oranges
1lb. whole cloves
1/4 c. Cinnamon
1/4 c. orris root
1 thick darning needle or a knitting needle

Mix the cinnamon and orris root together. Put in small bowl.

Stud the entire orange with cloves pushed in, very tight together, covering the entire surface. (Use the darning or knitting needle to pre-puncture holes for each one.)

Roll each clove-studded orange in the spice mixture, and set them in a foil tray on top of your fridge (or some other warm place.) Turning them occasionally several times during the first few days, and once a day thereafter.

Dry for at least 14 days. Finished pomanders should be hard.

Shake off excess spice, attach a decorative ribbon if desired, and use any way you like.

(Except, of course, for eating!)

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