Fun with lining things up

Amidst all the shopping and cooking and driving out to fetch people and trips to the market and other sundry holiday activities, there are a few quiet spots in my holidays. I recently made a Clove-Orange, a sweet-smelling object sometimes used to scent closets or wardrobes. The fruit eventually dries out, leaving the cloves stuck in a leathery-hard sphere. If kept someplace dry, it will remain in this fragrant condition for months on end.

It’s a simple task to stick whole spice cloves into an orange (or in this case, a Clementine) if first one uses a thin tool to pierce the skin of the fruit. I usually use a pointy Japanese chopstick (hashi, pictured) but one could also use a darning needle. The purpose is to just pierce the skin, not impale the fruit, to more easily plug in the cloves without them crumbling. Naturally, I like to line up my cloves, but they may be placed in any pattern. The finished orange can be tied up with a ribbon to be hung up, if desired.

I find the activity to be very calming, and a lovely sensory experience. I’ve done it as a horticulture-therapy activity with students as well. It’s one of the few crafts that doesn’t worsen for having been forgotten in a locker for a few days. They do not, however, survive being dumped in backpacks with textbooks, so plan ahead by having some small cartons for transporting them home.


  1. deafmom said,

    27 December 2007 at 17:08

    How pretty!

  2. qw88nb88 said,

    26 December 2007 at 15:02

    Tangerines and Clementine are not exactly the same, but are rather different (subset) types of Mandarin oranges (Citrus reticulata), just as crookneck, pattypan and zucchini / courgette are different types of summer squash (Cucurbita pepo). The Tangerine cultivars sold at our local market are shaped more like navel oranges (convex ends) and the Clementine cultivars have concave ends, although there are a variety of cultivars of each.

    Regardless, one can use a variety of citrus for cloving. We don’t grow citrus in our yard, but I adore the fresh-picked grapefruits at my in-laws!


  3. Justthisguy said,

    26 December 2007 at 6:52

    Umm, that would be a tangerine. We had a tree in our yard on which they grew. Anglophiles! The best of Britain came to America and became our own country, with our own names for things and our own ways to spell those names! Phppbbff!

    Oh, Merry Christmas!

  4. JODI said,

    26 December 2007 at 5:49

    These smell SO good!

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