The spicy and tangy aroma of clove oranges fills the air in my home every winter with this lovely scent of the season. My mother began the tradition when my brother and I were children. We would sit at the kitchen island in front of a pile of bright, fresh oranges and a bowl of cloves with Christmas carols playing over the stereo. The activity is fun, simple and a wonderful tradition for the family to enjoy.
The secret to making a clove orange is to not hold back! Use as many cloves as you want and create fanciful decorations on the orange’s surface. No design is too simple or too ornate. Our oranges sport snowflakes, nativity stars, christmas trees, stripes, checkered patterns and circles. You know you have done it correctly if your thumbs are red, pricked and sore by the end of the activity. (Tip: you may want to give younger children rubber kitchen gloves or a thimble to insulate their thumbs).
We always display our creations in a fancy bowl or upon a cake stand or holiday plate in rooms throughout the home. You may not want to put the oranges on delicate surfaces, such as wood or even plastic, because the oranges may ooze a little. A large bowl of clove oranges graces the dining room cabinet, and every meal we are reminded of the reason for the season and our cherished time spent together this time of year.
Oranges have a special meaning in my family; I have fond memories of my dad sharing his orange slices with me, and they always appeared in our stockings come Christmas morning. Now that we are living in Hawaii, in a balmy 84 degree paradise surrounded by sunshine and beaches, it is too easy to forget the calendar and seasons. It is the little things like this that remind us of our family traditions back home in snowy Chicago and cold Houston.