I truly didn't hold out much hope for their survival, but placed them back in their spice-containing bags, and returned them to the closet.
On New Year's Day, 2 of these remaining 3 had contracted the mold, and were laid to rest. One remained, steadfastly, in its bag in the closet.
On Saturday (Jan 19), I pulled out the bag to check it, and noticed that the bag weighed next to nothing. This was new - and I figured the orange was now dehydrated, and maybe I had a pomander!
But, alas, this is what I discovered inside the bag:
This moldy yellow area was facing away from me in the bag - so at first I was really excited. But when I pulled it out and got ready to brush off the cinnamon/nutmeg/orris root mix that is coating it, I found the mold. Not the greed mold from the other 9, but a really nasty, sticky, shiny, yellow slime. Yuck.
Remember, this is what I was supposed to end up with:
To be honest, I think the above pic is not really a pomander, but an orange right after the cloves were inserted, because that orange is just too plump to be dehydrated!
Underneath all the spice mix on my 10th orange, the orange is shrunken and wrinkled. I am not going to waste time cleaning off the spices, since the whole project is a disaster. But, my moldy orange really smells nice!