January 2010
The Herb Farm

Citrus Peels and Pomanders Make a Farmhouse Smell Good

During the cooler months here in Alabama the days when I can comfortably enjoy the windows and doors open are few and far between. Sometimes when I drive into town for the day and come back home, I am suddenly hit in the face with the scent of my compost bucket, old coffee grounds or breakfast skillet stench. If you work indoors all day, you get used to it, but that’s not a good thing. I like for my house to smell good just in case folks stop by.

I discovered a couple of things that help. I usually harvest all of my satsumas, Meyer lemons and limes off of all of the trees by the end of November to the beginning of December. I try to use all of the parts of the fruits, including the peels. I generally use the zest of the lemons for making lemon curd or limoncello and the lime zest for pies. A fresh stock of citrus peels is a good thing to have around to add to your beer recipes. Also, citrus peels make great air fresheners when dried and made into potpourris or simmered in water on the stove top with other spices like whole cinnamon, whole allspice, cloves and nutmeg.

Another great idea for a natural air freshener is to make a pomander. I have seen many things in stores labeled as pomanders; but a cheap silk pillow with oily rose petals or cedar chips inside isn’t even close to what one actually is.

Pomander, roughly translated, means perfumed, round fruit. It is a traditional New Year’s gift usually made from an orange covered in spices.


Orange  pomander

To make a pomander the way that I do, you will need a few items from the kitchen:
*1 unblemished orange (thin-skinned preferably)
*Whole cloves
*Ground cinnamon
*Ground nutmeg
*Ground allspice
*Small nail or toothpick
*Decorative string or embroidery thread
*Skewer or long needle (to push the thread through the orange)
*2 buttons
*1 medium-size brown paper bag

Your orange will ultimately be studded with cloves.

Using your nail or toothpick, make your design for clove arrangement by poking holes into the orange. Stick the clove stems into the holes. From the stem end to the blossom end, insert your needle or skewer into the orange, pushing the string all the way through. Tie a button on the string at the bottom of the orange and attach the other button to the string at the top as a decoration. Mix your ground spices to the desired scent and roll the orange in them. Place the remaining spice mixture and your pomander orange into the paper bag and close the top. Place in a cool, dry place for three-five weeks to dry. Be sure to check on its progress every few days to ensure it isn’t developing a fungus and to gently dust your project with the spice mixture in the bag.

When it dries, you will have a natural room deodorizer that is also a snappy decoration. Send me pictures of your pomanders. I’d enjoy seeing them.

Thanks for reading!

Be sure to find me on Facebook at "Herb Farmer-The Herb Farm."

If you have any questions about uses for any herbs, e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I’ll tell you all I know. As always, check with an expert, like your doctor, before using any herbal remedy.