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How is a pomander made?

Find out how to create your own scented pomander.

Pomanders are used to ward off odors. [© Shutterstock, 2010]
© Shutterstock, 2010
Pomanders are used to ward off odors.

Pomanders were originally small filigree balls of gold, silver, or ivory filled with fragrant spices and an ambergris fixative. They were used as early as the Middle Ages, when they were worn to ward off unpleasant odors. Today's version is made by studding a piece of fruit with cloves and curing it in a mixture of ground spices with orrisroot as a fixative.


  • 6 to 8 firm, thin-skinned apples, oranges, lemons, or limes
  • 1/2 pound whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup powdered orrisroot


Insert the cloves at 1/8 to 1/4 inch intervals over the entire surface of the fruit. A one-inch wide band without cloves may be left, if a ribbon is to be tied around.

Blend the spices and orrisroot in a small bowl. One at a time, roll each piece of fruit in the mixture, coating it generously.

Place the spice-covered fruit in a large bowl, cover with more of the spice mixture, and set in a warm place to dry.

Turn the fruit daily; drying can take from two weeks to a month; the pomanders will be hard when they are completely dry.

Dust off excess spice mixture. Tie with ribbon if desired.

Fixatives absorb and hold the perfume of flower petals which is often quite fleeting, etc. The most commonly used fixative is ground orrisroot, which has a scent of violets; other fixatives are frankincense, gum benzoin, oakmoss, and tonka beans.

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