Orange Pomander Balls

Orange Pomander Balls

My earliest memory of oranges was when I was in primary school. Every Saturday morning in Winter I would walk to my netball game carrying one orange cut in quarters. As a wing attack my job was to stop the centre pass of the opposing team so I needed to be fast. Luckily, I was blessed back then with lightening reflexes and fast twitch muscle fibres in my legs which exploded with the exact amount of energy required to beat a wing defence. Every 10 min (or quarter) the game would stop so the players could have a break and we would all suck on a segment of unpeeled orange.

That is the only time that can recall enjoying the experience of pushing orange flesh into my mouth and sucking out the juices. Allowing my face and hands to get sticky wet with juice was not pleasurable but I was committed player. I willingly fuelled up on this cheap transportable orange energy ball. Ah yes!! These were the days before water bottles, Gatorade and wet wipes.

Now I have so much more love for citrus fruit. From the bright oranges lemons and lime colours bursting forth from my fruit bowl to a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice to have with bacon and eggs. Anyone who makes a cocktail  knows that a splash of lemon or lime juice juice is required to add freshness and acidity.  While most people think about oranges and lemons for their vitamin C content during the cold and flu season, anytime is the right time for citrus flavours in our cocktails.

This morning I went to the local farmers market with a DIY plan in mind. Instead of baking cookies or cakes (which I really don’t need to eat) I decided to decorate oranges with lots of cloves. Pomander balls are a fancy French way of saying oranges or apples spiked and spiced with cloves. The act of pushing cloves into the flesh of ripe oranges was both physically and aesthetically pleasing. Cloves is one of those wonderful warming woodsy spices that smell amazing and have fantastic antiseptic and preservative powers.

Traditionally pomanders were used as Christmas decoration dating back to the Middle Ages where the scent of oranges and cloves were used to ward off evil spirits and to stay healthy. Aromatherapy of the day! Today they are going to end up as a pleasing centre piece on my kitchen table. Not only will they look cheery but will make the house smell amazing too.

While on a orange theme why not try a bitter orange spritzer or marmalade mocktail for dry July?

A toast to Christmas in July surviving school holidays and Tax time.

DIY Pomander Recipe

A holiday craft project which can double as an inexpensive handmade housewarming or Christmas in July gift. To create one pomander will take an adult about 10 min depending on the design so allow the young ones 20-30 min.


  • 3-5 orange
  • whole cloves (50-80 cloves/orange)
  • All spice mix to dust (optional)
  • Citrus Zester with Channel Knife (optional)
  • Wooden Skewer or tooth pick


  • Decide on your overall design
  • Punch holes (1 cm apart) with a skewer to create a pattern to follow
  • Push cloves into the rind to form pleasing geometric patterns


  • Channel your design into the flesh of the orange with a channel knife and be sure to keep the knife flat as you pull it along the surface with even pressure
  • Push cloves into the groove you created about 1cm apart
  • Use the strips of orange rinds to make orange curls cocktail garnish
  • Curl rinds around a chop stick press rings together and slip off the narrow end
  • End your day with an orange garnished cocktail or mocktail

Note: Apart from apple and orange pomanders there are other ridiculously easy and inexpensive ways to make your house smell like Christmas. Purchase a jar of  mixed dried flowers, fruits and spices called the Christmas Simmer Pot by The Peel Thing, light vanilla candles, perfumed pinecones or make rosemary garlands

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