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Monday, December 04, 2006

How to make a pomander ball

pomander ballAppleOrangeLemon / Lime

The first time I made one of these, I was about six years old. My Vavo (grandmother) showed me how to make them. She had us just stick the cloves straight into the fruit. It wasn't long before my fingers just hurt, and I wanted to quit. They did get finished, but it took many days because my fingers kept getting hurt. My grandmother still has a few of those balls in her china cupboard, and they still have a scent. ( update when I went to give her a new one she pulled out the old ones and they broke from age and handling it was nice to give her a gift and replace them made her so happy) I figured there had to be a way to do it without the pain, so I used an stiletto to prick the fruit first. It made it so the cloves went in easily; no pain. I made six about a year ago in one sitting and without the hurting fingers. This year I am doing it for the tutorial but I will enlist one of my children's help. It is to hard to make and take photos so she made the pomander as I gave her instructions on what to do next so I could take pictures.

  • 1 whole orange, lemon, lime, or an apple (unpeeled) which ever you like the look of or have on hand
  • 4 oz whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • optional 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • orris root (I usually skip this part. This item helps the fruit dry without molding, and dry faster, too. This is more useful in humid regions than the hot, dry Utah/California area)
  • sharp implement can be a skewer, ice pick, awl, stiletto, toothpick, knitting needle, nail or any thing that will make a small hole in the fruit
  • zip closing plastic bag
  • mess plastic apple bag or cheese cloth or lo-fa scrubber cut open (it will be a tube of mess fabric)
  • yarn
  • ribbon


Work over cookie sheet or plate as juices drip out while handling the fruit; this makes for easier clean up. Try to use cloves with the heads still on them; this will make for a prettier ball in the end. The others can just be saved for cooking with.
  1. First making sure that the fruit is not all bruised as this can lead to molding when drying. Then remove fruit stickers then wash and dry fruit.
  2. Use sharp instrument to make small holes in fruit. If a small child is doing this please have adult supervision and take care that they are safe.
  3. Press the sharp end of the whole clove into the holes in the fruit; keep doing this 'till fruit is completely covered. Being careful not to break the floweretts on the end of the clove. It will make your ball prettier if they are intake.
  4. Place one teaspoon of each spice: ground cloves, ground nutmeg, cinnamon, and orris root powder if you are using that into the plastic bag. Mix together till well blended.
  5. Place clove-studded fruit in bag; shake gently and well until completely covered.
  6. Remove from bag and set aside to dry for two to four weeks in a cool, dark place. The drying time depends on how much humidity is in your air. I like to make a little sling out of lo-fa mesh to hang it so I don't get a flat-sided fruit. If I have it, I use left-over a plastic mesh fruit bag from grocery store, apples sometimes come in these. Cut the ends off, place fruit on the mesh, and draw up and around. Tie the end with yarn and form a loop; hang to dry. Cheese cloth can do this, too.
  7. Once dry, tie a lovely ribbon around the fruit and place in cupboard or drawer. If placed in a drawer, make a little fabric bag so the powders don't rub off on your clothes. Originally, ladies tied them in a handkerchief, but not every one has a drawer full of those any more.

Make several and fill a bowl for the holidays. Afterward you can place them in your cupboards. Great as a gift, too!

Side note these don't really shrink when drying out the spices sort of mummified it. But it does get real light in weight when all done drying.


The little hands you see are my five year old she was helping me with my tutorial.

I have entered this tutorial into the whip-up competition, thus the button link below.

whipup whipup


  1. Thanks Sunshine for all those directions. I think I would like to make the pomander ball, how good that must smell. Which fruit do you think is the best to use?

  2. they all smell good the citrus smell sort of like wasil and the apples like spiced cider to me any way

  3. Sunshine - I remember making pomander balls as a kid, too. AND I know the sore finger part! Cloves can be sharp little beasts!!! Oh, the smell of an orange pomander - ahhhh... They're wonderful, and the ribbons around them are really darling. Thanks!

    XOXO, Libbie

  4. Sunshine, for some reason your pictures aren't coming up - maybe it's my computer! I have wanted to make one of these; thanks so much for putting it on your blog!


  5. Those are lovely! I'm printing that out to make next year. What cute gifts!

  6. can any one else not see the photos there are 21 of them in the tutorial so if your computer is slow or you have dial up it may take it a bit.

  7. Whew! I tried again and the pix are all there - what a great holiday (or any day) idea! Sunshine, you should put all your tutorials (with the great photographs) in a book - it would be lovely!


  8. Yeah my husband wants me to do that too I might in about a year or two when there are enough of them.

  9. Sunshine,
    Thank you for posting this. We did this craft for a Mommy group playdate. It was super successful! I made little kits of the cloves and drying mix for the mom's to take home. I even have mom's who didn't attend purchasing kits. and the mom's who did them are addicted. They can't wait until next year!
    Thanks again.

  10. glad you all had fun would love to see the ones you made my email link is on the side of my blog


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