Written by Toni Shiurba
Cinnamon, cloves and pine are the smells that signal that the holidays are near. Nearby mountains are covered with an icy white dusting of snow. Cobalt blue skies deepen and silhouette all of nature at dusk. Young children find magic in the tale of Santa Claus and his reindeer flying through the skies. I was no different. Let me tell you about a favorite Christmas tradition, a holiday decoration that my mother and I made.
Called pomanders by some, these are not the high, upward sweep of hair worn by women in the early 1900’s and later by burgeoning rock stars like Elvis Presley… Those were called pompadours. No, I’m talking about oranges. Oranges studded with cloves to be exact.
My mother and I would pierce bright, fragrant oranges with whole cloves until they could hold no more. The infusion of clove oil into the sweet oranges perfumed the air with a marvelous smell. Photo from holesinyoursocks.com
Recipe for Orange Pomanders
To make a clove orange pomander:
1.) Select a plump, round navel orange
2.) Wrap a colorful ribbon of your choice over the top and twist it tightly at the bottom.
3.) Secure the twist with a pearl-headed silk straight pin.
4.) Bring the ribbon up the opposite sides, tuck under the top piece and tie an overhand knot.
5.) Tie a bow.
6.) Gather a bowl of cloves with the heads intact. These are the most fragrant and easier on your fingers to push into the orange.
7.) Decide on a geometric or abstract pattern. I like to fill the orange totally full of cloves for maximum fragrance.
8.) Use a T pin, toothpick or needle to poke holes into the orange skin. This makes pushing the cloves in much quicker and easier on the fingers.
9.) Fill the orange with cloves.
10.) Breathe deeply the intoxicating scent.
Place in a cool room for a few days. As it dries, the orange will begin emitting its wonderful scent. The dried orange is preserved and the aroma lasts and lasts.
I have also experimented with using the smaller Mandarin or “Cutie” oranges. The process is quicker by far. Instead of a ribbon, you can just poke a hole from bottom to top with green floral wire. Cut the wire to an appropriate length and bend into a hook to hang from the tree.
We always made several of these aromatic oranges. Some would hang from the Christmas tree. Others became part of a dining table centerpiece flanked with pine cones of various sizes and sprigs of fir boughs.
In our entryway, was a coat rack and umbrella stand. Here, to welcome guests with the smell of Christmas, sat several more clove-studded oranges with red ribbons. I remember some years we put them in our closets and drawers to act as sachets for our clothes. And of course, they made treasured gifts! Photo from simplebites.net
Benefits of Clove Scent
Clove oil is antiseptic, antibacterial, a breath sweetener and can numb dental gum pain. I’ve used it when I had to make it through the night with a terrible toothache and it worked!
Inhaling the aroma has been proven to be stimulating and some say it’s an aphrodisiac. So make sure you are in pleasant company while enjoying its’ spicy fragrance.
Friday Harbor is the perfect destination to take part in holiday traditions and celebrations. We can help delight your senses and wrap you in the warmth of family, friendship and community. Book a room with us, enjoy a meal and relish all our small town has to offer!