Learn how to make naturally aromatic pomander balls using oranges, lemons, limes and cloves. These balls are a great alternative to mothballs in the linen cupboard.
In the Middle Ages, pomanders were worn around the neck attached to necklaces or around the waist attached to clothing or belts. Usually a metal container made of gold or silver, they were filled with of a variety of ingredients, such as herbs, spices or liquid perfume.
Bathing was not done nearly as often as it is in these modern times, so the pomander was utilized to mask odors and freshen the air. A second, yet very important use of those pomanders was to protect against germs and infection.
Another type of pomander, one which is still made and used today, is one made of citrus fruits studded with whole cloves. They can be made at home, using a few ingredients found in the kitchen and are a fun craft to involve the whole family in. They make a unique gift or conversation piece, and are useful as well as decorative.
Store the finished pomanders in the linen closet and clothes drawers to keep linens fresh and free of moths. Hang them on the Christmas tree, on garlands or wreaths, or display in a glass bowl or vase as a beautiful centerpiece.
Tools and Ingredients for Making Pomanders
- citrus fruits of choice, including lemons, limes, oranges
- whole cloves (save money by buying them in a bulk store), about 1 to 2 ounces of cloves per pomander
- piercing tool such as knitting needle, skewer, push pin or toothpick
- tea towel or newspaper
- ribbon (optional)
Pomander Making Method and Tips
- assemble tools and ingredients
- work over a tea towel or newspaper as fruit may drip during the project
- roll the fruit around in the hands first to warm and soften it
- if planning to tie ribbon around the pomander, mark where the ribbon will go and avoid putting cloves there
- poke holes where cloves will go, spaced evenly, leave 1/8 inch between holes, keeping in mind that fruit will shrink as it dries
- consider making a pattern with the holes, perhaps vertical or horizontal rows, circles or stars
- insert cloves into the holes, pushing them in as far as possible without breaking
- when finished inserting cloves, tie ribbon around if desired
- dry in a cool, dry place, turning occasionally, for one or two weeks
- you may have to adjust the ribbon due to shrinkage
Aromatherapy Benefits of Citrus Pomander Balls
A wonderful side effect to making these pomanders is receiving the aromatherapy benefits of the ingredients. Working the fruit with warm hands will release the natural oils. The scent of lemon refreshes the mind, lifts depression and anxiety and emotional stress.
Orange carries a joyful aroma which purifies the air. The scent of lime is invigorating and energizing, bringing a fresh energy into the home. Cloves bring a spicy, warm and balancing element to the mix.
Citrus pomanders, when stored carefully, can last for years, scenting the Holiday Home naturally with their fresh, spicy aroma.