Seasonal Crafts: How to Make Orange Pomanders

Here's how to make orange pomanders, which will fresh your closets and home—and also make a lovely holiday ornament for friends, family, and work colleagues.

Medieval herbalists used pomanders – mixtures of fragrant, dried herbs in cloth bags or perforated boxes – to ward off illness or bring strength and good fortune.

  • To make pomanders to freshen a winter-weary house, take firm oranges and stud them with whole cloves.
  • Be creative and arrange the cloves in diamond, circular, or other patterns. As the orange dries, it will release a delicate, spicy fragrance.
  • For a stronger aroma, cover the entire orange with cloves, and then roll in a mixture of spices: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg, 1 tablespoon allspice, ¼ cup powdered orrisroot. Leave the orange in the mix for a week, turning once a day.
  • To hang your pomander, thread a large needle with string and run it through the orange; make a knot at the bottom and a loop at the top.
  • Or, you can tie red ribbon around your pomander for a festive look!

Illustration by Margo Letourneau


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What is Orrisroot? I have

What is Orrisroot? I have neveer heard of it nor do I know where to find it..

I had never heard of it

I had never heard of it before either; I found this on the website I buy soaps & lotions from. Sounds like you could go to a local Herbal Store.
Copy & Paste. :)

Orris root is what helps

Orris root is what helps preserve the orange and prevent it from rotting. You really have to use orris power for the pomander to last. I've had pomander balls last for 5 or 6 years with orris root (although the spicy orange scent is gone after a few months). I stud the cloves all around the orange but leave exact space for me to tie ribbon. Then I sew a tassel or other little ornaments (like bells) onto the bottom. They look really pretty and make lovely Christmas presents. I'm making them this year to give to friends.

Orris root is a fixative that

Orris root is a fixative that helps retain fragrance. The cloves are what really preserves the orange and were used in ancient mummification processes.

wow. I didn't know oranges

wow. I didn't know oranges were once mummified! ;) lol

I read alum powder at another

I read alum powder at another site for preservation. Have not done this before so -

I have made these oranges but

I have made these oranges but always soaked my cLoves over night in oils like rose or lavender. Then after orange is dry wrapped in two colors of tulle and tied with matching ribbons. The are wonderful and last for years.

Orris Root is the dried root

Orris Root is the dried root of the Iris flower. It is used to fix the fragrance [as already stated]in many herbal sachets and perfumes. You can buy it on-line. I wouldn't suggest trying to make your own as it is specific to certain types of Iris.

When I made these pomanders,

When I made these pomanders, in the past, I just used an orange and whole cloves. I covered the entire orange with the cloves (which preserved the orange without rotting). I then tied a sheer ribbon over the cloves. The scent lasted for years and the ball, itself, lasted even longer as a decoration. I hadn't heard of using the spice mixture before so, I think I will try that this year.