Monday, November 28, 2011

Want Some Holiday Scents? Make a Citrus Pomander

You won't believe how easy it is to make a fragrant pomander!
Citrus tops the list of fragrances sure to please everyone. So why not greet visitors to your home on the market with the scent of fresh lemons, limes and oranges?

For the holidays, I like to mix citrus scents with the spicy aroma of cloves by making pomanders. They're pretty, they're easy to make, and the smell is natural so it won't offend anyone, even the chemically sensitive.

These pomanders are exactly like the ones people used to put in closets and dressers to make things smell pretty in the time before Fabreeze or Lysol.

Originally, pomanders were made and worn to ward off evil spirits and diseases, not to mention body odor in pre-deodorant days. Both men and women wore gold and silver containers as jewelry that held fragrant, stink-masking spices. As much as I love knights of bold in days of old, I'm glad I didn't live in those times. 

Now that your home is for sale, I am sure you have cleaned and decluttered, and made it smell fresh. To add a pleasant layer of fragrance, hang a pomander from a ribbon in a closet, set one on a kitchen window sill, leave one on a bedroom nightstand, or just pile some on a plate in the foyer.

Oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes and clementines all make great pomanders.
Once you see how festive and fragrant these citrus pomanders are, you may want to add them to wreaths, cluster them into centerpieces, or attach them on gift-wrapped packages.

Remember high school geography stories about European explorers sailing east to discover trade routes to parts of the world where spices grew? They needed exotic ingredients like cloves and cinnamon and pepper to preserve their meats, fruits and vegetables. Your inserted cloves will act as a preservative for your homemade pomanders. Unless you live in a very humid environment, the citrus rind will turn dark and leathery, and the fruit will be naturally preserved.

If your fruits develop any signs of mold as they are drying, move them to a warmer, drier location with good air circulation.  
These fruits are a week old, and show signs of drying. Eventually, the color will even out.
My version of citrus pomanders is simple. If you like being more elaborate or more precise, it's your call. You can completely cover the fruit, or make intricate designs, or write a person's name or a word like "Noel," or roll the fruit in spices like cinnamon when you're done.

Rather than buy whole cloves in cute little bottles at your supermarket, buy them in bulk for much less money at an ethnic grocer or a natural foods store.
 
The supplies for this DIY project are ordinary and cheap.

What You Need
Fresh citrus fruit like lemons, tangerines, limes, kumquats, or oranges
Whole cloves
Skewer, ice pick, or fork
Small towel or rag

How to Do
Set yourself up by laying the towel or rag on your work area to provide an absorbent surface. Decide on your pattern, and begin by inserting the skewer, ice pick or fork to make holes. The fork will give you evenly spaced holes, but they will be in a straight line.

Make good sized holes, so that you don't have to push hard on the cloves. 

After punching in ten or so holes, insert a clove in each. You can be as choosy as you want, using only those with seeds in the head, or ones without, or both. I use both. If you want to get fussy, you can sort by size, and use all large or all small cloves, or create a graduated design. Arrange them close together, or further apart. You're the artist!

You will find some cloves that are small or broken. Discard those, and use the best. 

In a few days your citrus rind will begin to darken slightly, but your pomander will still smell delightful and look attractive. Some people save their pomanders from year to year, because the fragrance never entirely dissipates. 

When your house is for sale, and it's holiday time, keeping seasonal decorations to a minimum makes good sense. Scented pomanders are one decoration that is simple and effective, yet inexpensive.

Who doesn't love the fresh scent of lime? And the color is perfect for Christmastime.
Discover more tips to help sell your home in my ebook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar.
Everything Under the Moon

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