I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, December 12, 2011

Clove Oranges - The Sweet Scent of Christmas

Hello, Happy Holidays!

Yesterday my gingerbread house day was cancelled....so with such a big block of free time, I spent the afternoon winterizing my deck. How sad to pull out the flowers which are still blooming, but I wanted to save the calla lily tubers before they freeze....then a bit of relaxation: I sat in the early sunset afternoon and made a bowl of clove oranges, sometimes called pomander balls.

Very Olde Engishe Christmas...and what a wonder scent, the juice of the oranges, the fresh cloves, the bowl of cinnamon.

I was reminded of this planned project by a listing in my friend/ inspiration Michelle's eBay shop. olde farmhouse simples .

olde farmhouse simples

She used her oranges in a simple, prim old box, with some pine. So sweet and simple....

olde farmhouse simples
My mother and I made pomanders years ago, one of our holiday projects when she no longer enjoyed baking cookies. I still have one somewhere in my boxes of decorations, now dried to the size of a golf ball. If I hold it in my warm hands and sniff, it it still carries the faintest scent of the spices....and takes me back to Cape Cod days.

I use the inexpensive juice oranges. They are, of course, juicy! And have thin skins.

Cloves can be very costly. Look in the Spanish/ Latino cooking section of your grocery for bargain spices. These cost about 1/4 what the "gourmet" MacCormick baking spices cost. (4 dollars instead of almost 16.oo!).

Cape Cod bulk cinnamon, again less costly than supermarket brands*....very fresh too.

Good idea to make the holes with a tool. Don't assume the  cloves will punch through the oranges' rinds. A nail, an awl, an old fashioned ice pick (note to self to look for one....). I couldn't find my special little tool, some sort of cachet thing so I used my old meat thermometer. Worked just fine.

Cover the orange with the cloves.

You can leave spaces, the orange will shrink as it dries. Or cover solidly. Make a star, a heart?. Roll in the cinnamon, shake off the extra and set in an open bowl or tray to dry. It will take a long time, be patient. Wait through the winter, enjoy the wonderful scent of Christmas long after the lights and the baubles are put to bed for yet another year. *If you check your fridge and have an ancient collection  of other spices...ginger, clove, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, ground anise---you can add that to the cinnamon and buy fresh next year. (I write the purchase date on the labels. Ten year old nutmeg is just...uh, dust.) Don't use spices with sharp savory scents! No curry or paprika, just toss those guys out.

And if I have another free afternoon I may make a few lemons or limes...experiment! (I guess apples spoil? We'll see!)

a/n: Michelle suggests Christmas Tree Shop for very inexpensive spices! [see her comment, below]. LOL. CTS has just arrived here! Not close at all...35 miles? We went last week, got lost in the fog, ended up at very not-Xmassy IKEA. Oh well.

Michelle also says to store the clove oranges in a brown paper bag. Something I did not know, guess they can breathe...and dry...not spoil.

my bowls and cranberry trug
rosehips from
olde farmhouse simples

Have a wonderful week. Happy holidays!



gone to the beach....

*photos from Olde Farmhouse Simples, on eBay,
 used here with the kind permission of Michelle.
I love her photos! and style.

                                                                       Thanks, M!