There’s nothing new about pomanders. As a matter of fact pomanders were used in the late Middle Ages through the 17th century to protect against infection and mask against bad smells. Today pomanders are primarily used as room fresheners. According to Wikipedia, the word pomander originates from the French “pomme d’ambre, i.e. apple of amber, is a ball made of perfumes, such as ambergris (whence the name), musk, or civet.”
Modern day pomanders are generally apples or citrus fruit studded with whole cloves. To spice up my life (Ha! Ha!) and get me in the mood for Christmas, I decided to make some citrus pomanders. I purchased oranges, lemons, limes and a jar of whole cloves. Costco is a good place to purchase these items in bulk and inexpensively. Because I didn’t want my home to smell like a dentist’s office, I decided not to follow tradition and chose not to cover the entire surface of the fruit. Hearts, stars, and patterns were more in line with my style.
I washed the fruit first and poured the cloves in a little bowl. If you are really a detail-type person, you could separate in advance the headless cloves from the head-still-intact ones. Unbelievably, I did not do this. Working on a plate, I selected the side of the fruit I wanted to highlight and used cookie cutters to outline the desired design. Holding the cookie cutter in place, I gently poked holes around the outside of the cookie cutter with a bamboo skewer. The cutter may have to be gently rocked from side to side to adequately work the design around the contour of the fruit. Space the holes about one-fourth inch apart, or for a denser-looking design, place them closer together. Push a whole clove into each of the holes.
Had I checked in with Martha Stewart first, I would have used rubber bands to create straight lines and would have shaken my pomanders in Orrisroot (available at health food stores) which is a perfume fixative. Live and learn!