Monday, April 2, 2012

Pomander Balls

Last week I experimented with pomander balls. I have made them from sixteenth century recipes in the past, but only have small stores of gum dragon (gum tragacanth) and orris root powder at the moment. I decided to experiment with a recipe of my own based on period sources.

I couldn't find a local source of gum arabic, and didn't want to wait, so I used powdered arrowroot. I mixed this with equal parts of powdered cloves, cassia and nutmeg because I love this combination of scents.

The spices about to be mixed with rosewater and arrowroot

I then added rosewater and mixed, then rolled them into small balls about the size of a walnut. The resulting balls were quite robust and have not cracked in the week since I made them. My hands smelt delicious after rolling them up!

The completed pomander balls

These balls will not be used for SCA use; they smell so lovely that I will be using them in my fabric and clothes cupboards. I will make more in future to go inside my pomanders. I hope to source some gum arabic in the mean time and so make a more accurate mix. I would also like to try rose and spice beads in the future. Here is a helpful site:
although there are many interesting reproduction source books around, including Sir Hugh Plat's 'Delightes For Ladies".


  1. As a postscript, I wanted to mention that these pomander balls are lasting really well and provide a lovely scent which is not overpowering. I will be making more.

  2. Cool post!
    would love to try this - Do you have a link to the recipe that uses gum arabic?

  3. All my notes and recipes are in disorder from moving rooms but I will post some recipes for you as soon as I get sorted!

  4. Cool, looking forward to it :)

  5. I have just posted a pomander recipe with Gum Arabic in it for you :-)