I got fed up with waiting for the pomanders to dry out – that I started making a couple of months ago . So I put them on trays in the only warm room in the cottage – the airing cupboard or as Danny calls it “the hot press”. This speeded up the process well. When we start lighting the wood burning stove this weekend they will be put near there to bask in the heat.
Today it was wet and gloomy so I put made a big patch of homemade passata, put some bacon in to cure and discovered that the lemon pomanders had finally dried out. I removed the remaining spice mix from the fruit with an old toothbrush – retaining the mix as it can be used over and over again. Then I gave each lemon a quick all over blast with my hairdryer.
Some of the cloves had lost their heads. These can be removed with tweezers or by using a small pair of scissors as a lever. If the clove head snaps off, use a cocktail stick to press the stem into the fruit. You can then replace all damaged cloves with fresh ones of the correct circumference. As I bought my cloves in bulk, there are quite a few damaged ones. Don’t throw these away, they are great mixed with rose petals for rose and clove scented moth bags – I found a gorgeous recipe in Barbara Ohrbach’s book Roses from the Scented Room: Beautiful Ideas for Entertaining, Gift-giving and the Home. This book is still in copyright so I can’t share the recipe with you but if you are interested in making superb presents I urge you to invest in this beautiful book. You can buy it for a song second hand on Amazon.
Pomanders are not very attractive undressed. As Danny remarked,
“They look like some sort of Mediaeval weapon.”
So tarting them up is essential. To give them the best possible sartorial future, I visited the only shop in Newmarket that sells ribbons. Wow, I had no idea how expensive ribbons can be – 40p to 60p a metre! I think that I’ll be looking and buying online in the future. I actually worked out the mechanics of achieving a hanging hook and a bow using string – it’s on the right hand side of the photo – so that I didn’t waste a centimetre of ribbon. The double sided satin ribbons are pretty and suddenly the pomanders started to look tempting!
Pomanders do take a long time to make. At my Lewis Hamilton best, I could make 4 basic lemon pomanders in an hour. A decent sized orange takes at least 45 minutes. This is without the primping and dressing. But if you are time rich, these make gorgeous anytime presents. With their spiciness they are perfect for Christmas presents too. Tucked into a little hamper of home preserves they probably would steal the show.
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