Dried orange slices are a simple and lovely way to decorate for the holidays and you can make them right at home! Use them to decorate around the house, make a beautiful potpourri or even hang them from your Christmas tree. BONUS, they make your home smell amazing while they are baking!
Living in Arizona, citrus trees abound! Practically half of the Valley is an orange (and lemon and grapefruit!) orchard and some neighborhoods even require you to have orange trees in your yard. While some trees may be purely ornamental others bear delicious and sweet fruit. Drying oranges is a great way to use excess fruit that you couldn’t otherwise consume fast enough!
I love hanging dried oranges slices on my tree and garland in my kitchen. It makes me feel like I live in a charming little farm house (maybe some day!). They are not only pretty but they smell great!
It isn’t only slices that you can dry. Consider making some dried zest and peel as well! Dried orange peel also works great for potpourri and is perfect for use in mulling spice mixes. Dried zest can be stored for use later in cooking and baking. Add it to cookies, breads, and sauces when you are out of fresh oranges.
DIY Dried Orange Slices, Zest and Peel
1. Prepare your oranges
Prepare your oranges for how you intend to use them. Zest, pieces or slices all work great! If you are making orange slices, note that thinner slices (about 1/8 in thick) work best. Really thin slices will dry and curl and thick slices take a long time to fully dry.
2. Dry in Oven
Lay your orange slices, zest and/or peel on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a mat. Pat down orange slices with a paper towel to remove excess juices. Dry in the oven at 200º degrees for 1-2 hours. Zest and peel takes about an hour, slices about 2 (thicker orange slices might need even longer). Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheet.
The longer you dry your oranges the darker they will get. Especially the slices. The insides crystalize a little bit. I like my oranges to stay more of a natural color so I didn’t let them cook long enough to crystalize. I put twine through mine and hung them on my evergreen garland!
3. Decorate & Make
Now that your oranges are dried and ready to go, you can make all sorts of things! That’s it! Such an easy way to preserve the holiday! Orange you glad you know how to do it, now!? (Sorry, couldn’t resist. You know me and puns.) 😀