Making Lime and Orange Pomanders [aka Citrus Acupuncture]
With the busy holiday season approaching, and thoughts of how we are going to Deck the Halls on all our minds, the O Deer women gathered together to plan our seasonal schedule and indulge in a little old-fashioned Christmas crafting. Though I haven’t made them in years, I have made pomanders— the sweet-smelling clove studded fruit decorations for tree and home— many times. When my older daughters were small, we delighted in making these each year, as well as stringing popcorn (what didn’t get eaten first) and cranberries into garlands, making gingerbread to eat and to decorate the house, and other traditional holiday crafts. My Granddaughter Kaylah remembered her mother making them when she was small, and was enthusiastic to give it a try.
We started by gathering together all the materials we thought we might need. There are different variations on this craft which dates back several centuries. Originally, they took the form of a ball made of perfumes, herbs and spices suspended in waxy substances such as ambergris , musk, or civet. The pomander was worn around the neck or waist, or carried in a vase, also known by the same name. They were used as a protection against the infections that ran rampant in the Middle Ages, or merely as a useful accessory to cover bad smells. As time went by, the clove studded fruit variety of pomander became associated with Christmas and New Years. Fruits, particularly citrus, and the spices that went into the making of these aromatic spheres were often rare delicacies for our fore-bearers, and so they made a special gift. Hung around the house and in closets, they brought a wonderful scent to the stale air in closed up houses. This is just as true today.
It was a good time, but Kaylah quickly discovered that shoving cloves into fruit is hard on sensitive fingers. We recommend taping your fingers, or using something like finger guards or a thimble if your fingers get sore. You will need something, in the case of citrus, to first punch holes in the tough rind of the fruit before inserting the cloves. We tried some turkey skewers but they were too thin.The best tool we found, were the plastic punching tools from a pumpkin carving kit. The pick from a nutcracker set also worked well. If you decide to make pomanders, set aside ample time. The three of us spent several hours doing a dozen or so pieces of fruit. It is a great activity for family groups or friends though— it is very easy to socialize while you work.
I hope you enjoyed our little recipe for Christmas crafting fun as much as we enjoyed bringing it to you. During a time of year when we tend to rush to often and do too much, remember to set aside time to do the fun things and just enjoy friends, family and loved ones, and to do things together. We would love to see pictures of your Pomanders, and will happily try to answer any questions you have. Till next time….