The Hedge apple, also known as an Osage Orange is that strange, round, green, bumpy thing that you see laying on the side of the road, usually in more rural areas.They are a fruit. They ripen in the fall season and can be a great accent for fall decorating. They have a very interesting texture. One would say it looks kind of like a brain (yuck, right?). I was amazed to find out that they actually have a many great uses.
Intrigued by these freaky fruits, which in my opinion smell a bit like a pear, I decided to see what I could come up with for decoration.
I will tell you they can be very sticky and the white juice they emit can cause a slight burning sensation on your skin, knowing this I proceeded with caution making sure to use gloves.
I found when I sliced them open with a serrated knife that the inside was interesting as well, so I decided to try to pickle some in vinegar and make candles out of the others.
For Either the Pickling or the Candle you will Need:
-Glass jars (with lids if pickling)
-Hedge apples (or another fruit if you cannot find any of these)
-Large serrated knife
-Plastic or rubber gloves
For Pickling you will also Need:
– White vinegar
– Paint if you would like painted lids
– Fabric and glue gun if you would like fabric lids
For Candle Making you will also Need:
– Clear gel wax
– Zinc candle wicks
– Electric stove and double boiler pan – OR – Crock pot and metal bowl for melting the wax
For the lids:
– If you want painted lids, apply three thin coats of paint letting each coat dry for about 15-30 minutes in between.
– If you want fabric lids, measure and cut fabric and using glue gun and attach fabric to the lid. I dyed some cheese cloth, twine and string in a mixture of hot tea and orange food coloring. I let it sit overnight, then let it air dry, and then I adhered it with a glue gun.
For the Pickling:
– Slice hedge apple lengthwise into very thin wedges.
– Arrange them in the jar.
– Pour in the vinegar to completely cover the hedge apples.
– Screw on lids, and you are done!
To Make into Candles:
– I did not use lids on these, but painted lids would work fine.
– Slice the hedge apples in the same way, or make chunks to show more of the skin.
Melting the Wax:
– In a crock pot:
- Boil about 2 cups of water in a tea kettle, and then pour that water into the crock pot with the crock pot setting on “warm”. Next put the clear gel wax into a metal bowl and put the bowl inside the crock pot so it will start melting. After about half an hour turn the crock pot up to the “low” setting and let it melt about another hour or until it is melted completely.
– In a double boiler on an electric stove
- Place about 2-3 cups of water into the bottom part of a double boiler pan on medium heat. Put the wax in the top half of the double boiler and once the water is simmering place the top half into the water. Let it melt, stirring occasionally with a utensil. The wax will appear to be simmering once it is ready. WARNING: Do not use this method with a gas stove, it is too hard to maintain the proper heat and the wax could ignite if overheated.
Placing the Wicks and Pouring the Wax:
– Once wax is melted, dip the metal bottom of the zinc wick into the wax and then place into the bottom of the glass jar.
– Next, using a toothpick, dip the slices into the wax making sure to fully cover each piece with the wax, and then adhere the pieces to the inside of the jar.
– Pour the wax into the center area of the jar making sure to fill the jar enough to cover all of the hedge apples, but being careful not to overflow.
– Let wax dry for at least 24 hours before you use candle.
You can do just one or the other. IF you just choose to pickle only, use plenty of other candles to get the same effect.
To empty and clean out candle jars when candles have been used up: Partially submerse jars into hot water in your sink, let the jars sit a few minutes and wax will start to melt. Next, run a knife around the inner side of jar to loosen wax. Hold jar over trash can and empty contents with the help of a knife. Put jars back into hot water and add some vinegar and baking soda to soak, and then add some dish detergent.
If making the candles, please keep in mind that you are using fresh fruit and it will not be preserved, so it may not last as long as a gel candle from the store.
If you cannot find hedge apples:
Try using other fruits, such pumpkins, oranges, green apples. Find fruits or veggies that seem to compliment each other and mix them into your arrangement, get creative, and enjoy the season.