Nothing says fall-time to me like the scent of the clove. These little, reddish-brown nail-shaped spices are simply a dried flower bud of the evergreen clove tree. But put just a pinch of the warm flavor in your cider, tea, or even a savory cheese spread for your holiday season, and there is no mistaking its undeniable presence.
For a perfect holiday project to get the kids involved, take a hint from the Victorians and make your own pomander balls. They make beautiful decorations, hanging from ribbon, or would make a festive centerpiece or placeholder at each Thanksgiving guest’s plate.
Traditionally, pomanders are made with oranges, but an apple, lemon, or even a mixture of the citrus fruits would be pleasing as well (for this, think various sizes — grapefruits, clementines, and kumquats). If you plan to tie the pomanders with ribbon, mark off the positions with masking tape before working so you’ll avoid those areas. Simply insert a skewer, toothpick, fork, or large needle into your fruit first, to prevent snapping off the end of your clove as you position them. Then, insert your cloves. If you like, you can mix your cloves with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, sandalwood, or others before inserting them. I like mine just filled with cloves. The more cloves you insert, the headier the fragrance, but feel free to make a design or pattern with the cloves to save on how many you have to purchase. After the festivities are over, you can hang these in your closet or drawers to keep that fresh, pleasant scent (and keep moths away)!
The pungent fragrance of citrus and clove will harken you back to holidays past, and make a lovely tradition for your celebrations in the future!