Pomander Spiced Orange Jam

When I was growing up, one of my very favorite holiday-time projects was making pomander balls.

My mom would put out a bowl of oranges and give both my sister and me small dishes filled with cloves. We’d use toothpicks to pre-prick the oranges with patterns and then would poke cloves into those spots. When they were all done, we’d roll them in a mix of ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and then set them around the house in small saucers.

10 oranges in a bowl

They were time consuming, but I loved making them. Nothing smells quite so much like the Christmas season to me than the combination of orange and spice.

skinned oranges

This year, when I started craving the fragrance of a pomander ball, a thought occurred. Why not translate those flavors into a jam? That way, I could enjoy the aroma while it cooked and then serve it with scones or pancakes throughout the holidays.

orange peels

Like so much of the preserving I do, I make this one in small batches. It takes some time and careful knife work to prepare the oranges for jam and I’ve found that any more than four pounds at one time and I start to feel irritated instead of inspired. Small really is best in this case.

four cups orange sections

You’ll note that there’s no additional pectin in this jam. That’s because the reserved seeds serve to lend enough pectin to the process to create a nice, soft-set jam. However, if you prefer something a little firmer and less drippy, consider whisking a tablespoon of powdered pectin into the sugar before combining it with the fruit.

cooking orange jam

Finally, do make sure to seek out flavorful juice oranges for this jam. You want fruit with seeds for that pectin boost. Navel oranges are great for eating, but rarely have seeds and so won’t give you that vital ingredient.

You could also use mandarins or tangerines. Also, consider saving the removed peels and candying them. It’s a nice way to use the whole fruit!

scant three cups

Pomander Spiced Orange Jam

Small batch Pomander Spiced Orange Jam, the flavours and aromas of Christmas in a jar.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Preserves
Servings: 3 1/2 pint jars
Calories: 816kcal
Author: Marisa


  • 4 pounds juice oranges about 10 to 12
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


  • Prepare a small boiling water bath canner and three half pint jars. Place three new lids in a small saucepan of water and bring to a simmer.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut off the peels of the oranges. Start by removing ends and then cutting the peels of in strips, going just deep enough to cut away the peels and pith.
  • Working over a bowl or large measuring cup, use a sharp paring knife to remove the sections of fruit, leaving behind the tough membrane. As you work, set aside any seeds you find. When all the fruit is removed, squeeze the membrane over the bowl to capture as much juice as possible from the fruit.
  • When the fruit is all broken down, you should have approximately 4 cups. Combine the fruit in a 5 quart pot and add the sugar, lemon juice and zest, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
  • Bundle up the reserved seeds in a length of cheesecloth, a spice bag, or a tea ball and place them in the pot as well.
  • Set the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring regularly, until the jam thickens. Use an instant read or candy thermometer to monitor the temperature. When it reaches 220°F/105°C, it is done.
  • Remove the seed bundle and funnel the jam into the prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for ten minutes.
  • When time is up, remove the jars from the canner and let them cool on a folded kitchen towel. Once jars are cool enough to handle, check to ensure jars sealed. Properly sealed jars can be stored in a cool dark place for up to 1 year.


Calories: 816kcal | Carbohydrates: 208g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 1144mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 190g | Vitamin A: 1360IU | Vitamin C: 340.8mg | Calcium: 262mg | Iron: 1mg

What are your favorite holiday scents?

About Marisa

Marisa McClellan is a food writer, canning teacher, and dedicated small batch canner who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her jams, pickles and preserves (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first book, titled Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, is now available.

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  1. What a great idea, Marisa! I have to admit, I didn’t realize that the oranges w/ cloves stuck in them had a name other than oranges with cloves stuck in them 🙂

  2. I can not even imagine how good the house would smell well this is simmering! I must give it a try! 🙂

  3. What a cool idea-it must smell amazing too! Once the flurry of shopping/wrapping/mailing is over I think this would be the perfect project to make me relax and enjoy the rest of the season 🙂

  4. I had completely forgotten about making pomanders until you wrote this post – my grandmother never rolled hers in ground spices, so that’s a cool touch!

  5. Oh, I love this idea! I also grew up making pomanders and loved their smell. These would also make lovely gifts. Thanks for the recipe! =)

  6. I’m all over the spices in this jam…spiced orange does scream winter and the holidays doesn’t it? Love this.

  7. What a wonderful way to preserve a childhood memory! It’s such a great idea to use the flavors in a jam.

  8. Made a batch yesterday. Local store sold me 12 oranges for $2, so needed inspiration—they were seedless, but used some apple pectin and it set up well. Lovely smell and look, tasted wonderful in a crepe this AM. It will be a nice gift jam for the holiday!

  9. Lovely! 🙂

  10. I love Orange Jam this brings back such great memories with me and my mom. Never thought of the spices though. Will try it

  11. 5 stars
    Oooh this sounds awesome! Might have to try this Christmas week when I have a little free time on my hands. I can’t imagine how amazing it makes your house smell while cooking!

    KK @ Preppy Pink Crocodile

  12. Wow..At least this Christmas my girlfriend gonna get something worth from me..I am giving it an attempt…

  13. What about clementines? Anyone ever use those for jam?

  14. Marisa,
    I got a case of juice oranges (and a case of navels, and one of tangelos) as part of the band fruit fundraiser last week. We’re working on them, slowly, but this looks like a good way to make a dent in the remainder. I never knew about the seeds for pectin–makes me wonder if I should save the seeds for pectin-free summer berry jams.
    Must investigate. Thanks!

  15. rebeccabasset says

    I have an Orange Tree that Produces way to many Oranges every other Year or so and most of them that I keep go to waste, I don’t really like Orange Juice, but I am sure that I would like this Jam, and I will try making Pomander Balls too!

    Thanks so much for the Recipe!

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