Pomanders have been around since Tudor times, and I doubt that you’ll be even vaguely surprised to hear that it was those Victorians again who made the orange versions into such a popular feature of making Christmas homes smell spicily, zestily festive.
There are two ways to make an orange pomander. The super-quick method with a shorter life and then this way which dries out the fruit so that it won’t go mouldy. Pomanders done like this should last for ages. Start on them about 2-3 weeks before you want to put your decorations up.
For each orange you will need about half a tablespoon each of ground cinnamon and orris root powder which have been mixed together. The orris is there to help preserve the fragrances so don’t miss it out – you should be able to find it online easily enough.
1. Roll each orange between your hands to warm the skin and make it easier to stud with the cloves.
2. If you intend to hang the pomander, you will need to mark where the ribbon will be with two pieces of masking or sellotape. As above, it is two pieces which cross each other to create quarters. Before you put the tape over rub some of the orris/cinnamon powder underneath where the tape will lie to stop the skin under there going funny.
3. Now stud the visible orange skin with cloves. As many – and in whatever design – as you like. Protect your jabbing thumb by wrapping some sellotape around it.
4. Roll the orange(s) in the cinnamon and orris root mix. You really want to try to get as much powder as possible into the nooks and crannies between the cloves.
5. Place the oranges into a cardboard box lined with greaseproof paper, or into a paper bag. Tip over any of the powder mix which is left over and cover the box / tie the bag.
6. Put the box/bag someone warm and dry – an airing cupboard would be good. Leave for 2-3 weeks until the skin has dried out.
When you and the oranges are ready, take them out, remove the tape and put the ribbon around as explained below. Then hang them or arrange however you fancy.