“Crafting” With Gladness: Colonial Clove-Decorated Fruit

Today is a Christmas Craft Day on Gazette665. And this is the first of three blog posts in one day!

We have three special projects prepared for you…and – best of all – they are related to the first three stories in With Gladness! (Watch for two more craft days later in the holiday season…)

Christmas Clove Decorated Fruit

A wonderful old-fashion Christmas decoration is clove decorated fruit. It was featured in Colonial Era decorations and remained popular for many decades. In the “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (post-Civil War) clove apples are mentioned as simple gifts.

So what is clove fruit? It’s fruits – usually apples or citrus – decorated with whole cloves. They were used in wreaths, fruit pyramids, centerpieces, or just set on their own in a room. Clove fruit smells amazing – sweet and spicy!

Fruit and spice decorations are mentioned in the Colonial Era story “Great Joy” in With Gladness: A Christmas Story Collection:

In the main room, a warm fire crackled on the hearth. Evergreen boughs accented with rosy apples decorated the mantle. On the chimney, a wreath twined of dried vines featured a decorative display of dried orange slices and spices, filling the room with a homey scent. (Page 9) Yes, those apples could’ve had cloves in them…I just didn’t specify.

Here’s how to make these traditional decorations

Christmas Clove Decorated FruitWhat You’ll Need:

Fruit – apples, oranges, or lemons are my favorites and are most traditional

Whole Cloves

Toothpick

Wash and dry the fruit. “Polish” with a towel to get a clean, naturally shiny look.

Christmas Clove Decorated FruitUse the toothpick to prick holes in the fruit. This will help prevent the cloves from breaking as you place them. Press the whole clove’s stem into the hole.

Don’t put the cloves too close together; the fruit with just get mushy, sticky, and hard to work with if you try to “completely” cover it. (Trust me. I tried it this way when I was about seven and it was a horrible mess).

Lines, circles, and other geometric shapes are the traditional designs on the fruits.

Christmas Clove Decorated FruitChristmas Clove Decorated Fruit

Christmas Clove Decorated Fruit

 

 

 

 

 

Display and enjoy! I’ve used my clove fruit in candle centerpiece arrangements or stacked neatly on decorative plates. They would be pretty on a mantle or in a wreath too.

Note: Keep an eye on the fruit throughout the holiday season. If the fruit starts to get really mushy or moldy, discard it immediately (and make new ones.)

Christmas Clove Decorated Fruit

P.S. Want to share photos? You’re welcome to post on Gazette665’s public Facebook page. We’d love to see your Colonial craft! #craftingwithgladness

About Sarah Kay Bierle

I’m Sarah Kay Bierle, historian, living history enthusiast, and historical fiction writer. When sharing history, I try to keep the facts interesting and understandable. History is about real people, real actions, real effects and it should inspire us today.
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