In medieval times pomanders, clove-studded fruits cured with
spices, played an aromatic role in civilizing civilization. Their lasting fragrance was a foe to
unpleasant smells, in the home and even on the person.
They’re here in the MayArts Ribbon blog because the
prettiest pomanders are tied with decorative ribbons. Some ribbons are tied around the pomanders,
allowing them to hang in closets and other musty places, while others add bits
of color and design to pomanders grouped in bowls and baskets.
Here’s a refresher course in Pomander Prep..
- Fruits that will
dry well – oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines, apples
- Whole cloves – good
quality with heads still in place
- Ceramic or glass
- Small sharp metal
skewer or knitting needle for puncturing fruit skin
- Spice mixture for
curing approximately 4 – 5 pomanders
cinnamon - 8 Tablespoons
cloves - 4 Tablespoons
allspice - 1 Tablespoon
nutmeg - 1 Tablespoon
orrisroot - 2 Tablespoons
- Ribbons – about 2 yards for tying and/or hanging each
finished pomanders (note: When selecting ribbons, remember that they will be
surrounded by cinnamon brown dried clove-studded fruits- not the fruit’s
pre-dried natural color)
Don’t limit your selections to holiday colors because
pomanders are always in season, and May Arts many two-sided ribbons add an
extra, unexpected touch.
For my project, I used the following 3/8” May Arts Ribbons
that play nicely together:
- MN 28
- SB 28 (gold/green reversible)
- 333-16 (green)
- AKN 27 (plaid)
- Select fruit and
- Have a design in
mind for the clove “landscape” you are creating. This includes distinct un-studded avenues
that will house the ribbons after the curing is complete. It is helpful to lightly mark the design with
a soft pencil.
- Masking tape or
even strips of paper or fabric can mark the ribbon-pathways – but must be
removed after the cloves are stuck in place.
- Using a small sharp
metal instrument, like a turkey skewer, make only a few punctures at a time in the
fruit, according to your plan. These
holes should not be too close together, as the fruit will shrink as it
dries. Insert cloves in pre-made holes. Continue making 3 – 4 holes at a time until
the job is completed. Try to complete each pomander on the day you start so
there is less chance of rotting.
- Make a batch of at
least 4 to 5 pomanders at one time.
- Mix the curing
spices together, place 1/3rd in the bottom of a ceramic or glass
bowl. Arrange the pomanders on top and
cover them with the remaining mix.
Rotate the pomanders often and keep them covered with the spices. It may take from two to four weeks for the
drying/curing to be complete.
- When the pomanders
are ready, tap the excess spice mix back into the bowl- to be saved for more
batches as well as refreshing these after time.
- Place the ribbons onto their pathways, securing with a dab
of glue if necessary. Finish the
creation with a bow, baubles, small cones, or any other decoration that seems
like a good idea.
- If the pomander is to be used as a hanging sachet, create
a ribbon hanger – or pair of ties.
- A bowl or basket of
be-ribboned pomanders is a subtle and practical “object” in many locations.
- The pomanders can
be refreshed by a sprinkling of water, then submerging for a week or two in the
saved spicy curing mix.
True Story: The
basket of pomanders in my living room just celebrated their 35th birthday, so I
can honestly say that all that punching and sticking and curing was worth while
a long long while ago.
Blog Posted By: Ellen Highsmith