All that is required to make an orange and clove pomander is an orange, cloves, a ribbon and a skewer. They first became popular, apparently in the Middle Ages – to ward off nasty smells and the Black death. Whilst they may have been useful for the former I have my doubts about their efficacy for the latter. These days they are used as Christmas decorations.
First remove the calyx from the top of the orange and then pierce the skin with as many cloves as you want to create a pattern that covers the orange.Too late I discovered that the best way to create a nice regular pattern is to start by putting an elastic band around the orange so that the lines of cloves are straight. The skewer is essential to pierce the skin- and that means that I shan’t be completely this activity with the Little Madams en masse as providing them with a sharp object and then letting them get on with it seems hazardous to put it mildly.
Anyway, stick the cloves in the orange in as artistic fashion as you want leaving a small gap between each one. As the orange dries it will shrink and the cloves will become more densely packed. Once the orange resamples a clovey hedgehog place it somewhere dry and dark. “Something To Do” says use the airing cupboard – so that’s where my pomander currently is – in the airing cupboard on a clean dry piece of kitchen towel. I’m turning it every day and checking for mould as I don’t trust the instructions – and quite frankly I think I should have left a space for the ribbon but I got a bit carried away. In theory by Christmas I’ll have a small but perfectly formed pomander that can have festive ribbon tied around it…I’m not totally convinced but there were plenty of pictures on the Internet of oranges and cloves, though none like the ones at East Riddlesdon which weren’t orange and which looked like a solid mass of cloves – though for all I know they may have been many years old.
It beats glossing skirting board in any event!