Saturday, October 17, 2015

How To Make Pomanders That Last

Do your pomanders last over 20 years or turn squishy before Christmas is over?

These of mine are 23 years old!

 Want to know the secret?

Step into my kitchen ell and I'll share the secret to pomanders that last.

My kitchen ell used to be the back porch of this farmhouse,
and it was the second location of four this house has known.

In 1920 when the house was built, the kitchen was in what is now a bedroom.
Then the porch was enclosed and where you can see the old wood icebox
was where the stove once stood.

 My secret for pomanders that last is from this old December 1949 issue of
Woman's Day from an article titled "Minerva and the Pomanders"
by Marguerite Ferguson.
The cover is a scene in Waterford, Vermont.

I have too much arthritis in my hands now to do this fiddly work anymore
but would love to see this craft passed down to others.

The first secret is that each fruit you use for your pomander
requires a special companion spice.

The largest fruit here is a quince and its companion spice is Allspice.

 This is an orange and its companion spice is Orrisroot.

For an apple the companion spice is Cinnamon.

I didn't use a lemon but its companion spice is Powdered Clove.

A lime calls for grated Nutmeg.

I did make a kumquat, this tiny pomander.
Use Orrisroot for kumquats.

Here are the instructions:

1) With a darning needle [I used an ice pick], puncture the fruit and fill the hole with
              a clove, leaving its head above the surface.
     Clove heads must just touch. Do not put in straight lines or the fruit will split.

2) Sift the companion spice over the fruit.

3) Cut cheesecloth into large squares, lay fruit in center, and pull corners together;
              tie with white twine and hang from cup hooks out of sunlight.

4) Let hang 6 weeks to season well. Two will do but the real secret to their longevity
             is letting them hang for 6 weeks with good air circulation.

 Please don't store your pomanders away after Christmas. 

Put them in a pretty bowl with good air circulation and your pomanders will last...forever?

Now you know the secret!

Pomander comes from the French pomme d'ambre.

 Ambre=ambergis (the fragrant, waxy substance from the sperm whale).

The author of the article said to hang a pomander from a bedpost.

"Pomanders induce restful, healing sleep."  


  1. Dewena, I bet they smell heavenly too. I absolutely would love some of those thru this season. I am always buying air fresheners. LOL. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

  2. Dewena, I love your kitchen and I sure would enjoy thumbing through that old issue of Woman's Day. I also had no idea that pomanders could last that long. Thanks for sharing those tips.

    I hope you're enjoying the weekend... :)

  3. Dear Dewena, I've never made one, and I had no idea how. They are very beautiful in a natural form. So much prettier than the styrofoam things one sees. Thank you for showing us. xoxo Su

  4. I love making these! I really thought I must be the only one that still does this. I had several for about 15 years before they were squashed during a move. I also made my aunt some when I lived in Germany. I didn't know if they would make the trip by mail that far, but she still had them when she passed away 2 years ago! So, those were about 14 years old. I love the 'old ways' of crafting. I think I'm just an old soul.
    I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

  5. Your kitchen is so charming Dewena, but then again, I'd expect nothing less ;).

    I can't believe these have lasted over 23 years! I probably shouldn't feel that way though since I still have the same eyeliner I had when I got married 32 years ago lol. I know, it's not 'safe' to use, but I'm still standing!


  6. I had no idea this was how pomanders were done. I've always wanted a 'real' one. Now I know how to make my own...Thanks for the info, Dewena!

  7. I have never been told how they were made. I learned something new today!

  8. i cannot tell a lie.
    though it is wonderful information for all these young homemakers out there...
    i will never make one. the closest i get is drying some citrus slices. LOLOL.
    just pathetic!!!

    what i LOVED and delighted in ... in this post ...
    are those yellow kitchen walls and that black and white checked floor...
    my favorite as you well know!!!

    and that cover of the vintage magazine!
    oh dewena. you could post about nothing but those and i would be a happy bug in a rug! i just can't get enough of them! i never tire of them.
    they make me feel good. and safe. and comfortable. i can't explain it.

    i've been out all day playing in the first really cool glorious fall day we've had!
    met the marine for a late lunch at 2 o'clock and sat outside under a huge tree to eat it... listening to the people around cheering on our football team...
    they were watching on tv on their phones i guess! LOLOL.

    love and huge hugs dsm.
    valley view just makes me smile. always.
    and because YOU are there. xoxoxo♥

  9. I have never made one, but I love that secret comes from 1949. New is not always better, in fact the older I get the more respect I have for the old, time honored methods. Thank you for sharing!!

  10. I truly can smell them from here (i have an odd brain thing and I can smell what I look at) They smell great.

  11. I knew about the cloves, but not about the companion spice. I also didn't know they lasted so long. That certainly is a plus. Thanks for sharing, Dewena. Your kitchen is delightful. I'd love to see more. xo

  12. Most fragrant post I've ever read. ;) LOVE! Have never made one, but now I must. Love your kitchen.
    Thx for sharing, Dewena. Have a lovely Sunday.

  13. Good to know! My friends Neal and Dorene have an apple pomander from Neal's great grandmother that is over 100 years old!

  14. What a sweet-smelling place your home must be! I made some pomanders several years ago - small limes and lemons with cloves and they dried very nicely without the companion spice. I kept them for years, but threw them out in one of our moves. Next time I'll try them with the spices you recommend.

  15. Oh, Dewena, I'm sure that your beautiful farmhouse smells like sugar and spice and everything nice, all the time, whatever the season, whatever's simmering on that stove of yours, but those lovely and aromatic pomanders must definitely add to the overall ambiance of your charming Valley View. Pretty and practical and....permanent air fresheners are worth the little effort it takes to spread the fragrant joy throughout one's space. Thanks so much for all your tips and advice and recipe!


  16. I can almost smell them! I swear I was sniffing as you were naming all of those spices!