Studding an apple with cloves creates a deliciously scented holiday decoration for your table or mantle. The end result, known as a pomander -- from the French word "pomme," or apple -- originated in Medieval Europe. Pomanders are no longer thought to ward off disease with their fragrance, and their original connotations of health and prosperity have been lost over time, but they remain a popular seasonal decoration. All you need is an apple, and a large number of cloves.
Choose a symmetrically round apple. You can use any size, but smaller apples require fewer cloves and less work.
Push the rigid stem of each clove into the apple, leaving just the bud exposed. Place the next one very close to the first, leaving as little space as possible.
Insert additional cloves in the apple. Place them edge-to-edge for a densely studded apple, or arrange them instead in esthetically pleasing diagonals, stripes or repeating patterns. Repeat until the entire apple is covered.
Mix 1/2 cup of fragrant ground spices such as cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger and rosemary in a bowl. Roll the studded apple around in the dried spices, so they find their way into the spaces between the whole cloves. Place the bowl in a warm, dry, dark, well-ventilated place for two to three weeks.
Roll the apple around in the bowl two or three times a day, as it desiccates and shrinks. This helps keep its shape uniform.
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- Pomanders make a fine handmade holiday gift, simply nestled into a small gift box and given as a decoration. Alternatively, put the studded apples on sticks like candy apples and display in a jar.
- A pomander can also be used to lend a pleasant fragrance to your closet. Place it on a shelf, or attach a ribbon and dangle it from a hanger.
Julia Margaret writes for various online publications, specializing in gardening topics. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from California State University, Northridge, and studied horticulture at UCLA Extension. Margaret also holds a Master of Arts in special education.