Making and displaying Clove Oranges is one of my favorite traditions during the holiday season at my house. The project goes day by day so that my fingers don’t get sore…but also to draw the interest of anyone who lives or comes into my home during the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
If you walk by the bowl of oranges and the cup of cloves, it is a little bit irresistible to grab an orange and start poking some cloves into it! This ties in to the original (by some accounts) purpose of the cloved orange — that is to hand a cloved orange to someone you’d like to meet. When I’m baking in the kitchen, I like to place the bowls of cloves and oranges in front of anyone who happens in to the kitchen so that we both have something to do while we chat.
There are lots of fun little bits of info about the cloved orange throughout history, but the tradition came to me via my Scandinavian roots. So…such is my perspective and sense of purpose for the cloved orange at Christmas in my home. And true to another purpose they’ve always served…they smell divine. Naturally, I make Clove Orange candles at this time of year in M Design Boutique. Aaaaaah, I just love a good inspiration for my work.
This year my Mom visited during the first week or so of December. If you know me, you probably know that I credit my mom for a whole lot of my creative life. My childhood was spent making all kinds of things. She still makes the most gorgeous handmade wares in many many forms. Living in different parts of the country makes our visits a frenzy of catching up while we crank out a thousand and one projects. Cooking, baking, trips to the craft store, supposing, measuring, sharing techniques and of course this holiday visit…making clove oranges. The photos in this post, in fact, are from our handywork thus far for Christmas season 2013.
A little tip/trick for making your Clove Oranges easy and pain-free (cloves can be prickly and after pushing a bunch in your fingers get a little raw and sore) is to use Clementines or Cuties because the skin is easier to permeate. It is also easy and fast to finish each orange. That keeps the project a little lighter for working on between batches of cookies, or for visitors to your kitchen.
Notice in my photos that while the traditional clove orange is filled with evenly spaced cloves, it is fun to make shapes, letters or other patterns. Everyone can express their own style! In the last photo I’ve placed my Rosenmunnar (Swedish Red Center Cookies) in front of my oranges. The bright fresh fruit makes such an unexpected twist on a holiday display. Next year, I will try wrapping ribbon around these and hanging some on my Christmas tree. If I visit you during this time of year, you can bet I will bring one for you!