dried orange slices
Whether it's the holiday season or not, dried orange slices can be used for so many things. Make a holiday garland. Hang them on your tree, or decorate a wreath. Use them as a fun addition when wrapping presents. Add them to your mulling spices. Top a mixed drink with one. Use them in a potpourri. This process is super simple, and makes your house smell like citrusy goodness.
I'm a big fan of decorating with natural items inside my own home, especially during the holiday season; like pine/fir/spruce/juniper cuttings, cranberries, holly, boxwood, eucalyptus, magnolia leaves, and dried oranges like these. The reason I like opting for natural items is because it helps me to feel more grounded in the season; just like having fresh Lilacs around grounds me in the springtime, or gourds & squash in the fall.
I originally tried this for the first time when I found a bunch of old oranges and limes that had gotten a bit *questionable* after getting lost in our cold room. I cut them up, did this process, and then used them for a holiday garland, ensuring none went to waste.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
ORANGES, CLEMENTINES, OR ANY CITRUS (LEMONS, LIMES, GRAPEFRUIT, BLOOD ORANGE)
Start your oven to 250F.
While your oven is preheating, slice your oranges using a sharp knife. Sharpening your knife before something like this will help ! It is not always easy to get perfectly even slices...I won't lie to you ! I like the "stick a fork in the end to hold it while you're cutting" trick, as it helps to keep the orange stable while saving your fingers. Be careful regardless.
NOTE: The thinner the slice, the more translucent it will be, and the faster it will dry. You'll also end up with more slices per orange! The ones in my photo that are the darkest were the thinnest cut, therefore they cooked the fastest. For this batch, I only had one kind of orange on hand, so I cut some slices thin and some thick to achieve a better variety of colour.
Once all the slices are cut, place them on a hand towel. Using another hand towel, pat and slightly push down on your slices, to remove as much liquid as you can. This will help you remove some moisture before baking, helping them to dry out quicker.
Place slices onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, each an inch or so apart. You can also place a cooling rack directly onto your baking sheet and place your slices on there, as to elevate them and encourage eve drying. Bake in oven at about 240F for 2.5 - 3 hours. Throughout this time, check on them periodically and rotate your baking sheets from top to bottom rack, if you have 2 sheets going at once. Make sure to flip the slices at least once during the bake, usually about halfway through.
Remove from oven when slices appear evenly dried, but not too burnt/brown. This all depends on your oven, so just keep an eye on them. Leave the slices out to air dry for a few days, in case some did not dry fully during the bake. I find this ensures they are crisp and easy to utilize/store.
To make a garland: use a large blunt/beading needle and some twine to poke holes through the dried slices. Tie a knot around each orange if you want them to lay flat. Layer with sprigs of winter greenery, cranberries, or holly. We rent our apartment, so I really like using peel-and-stick hooks on our walls around the holidays so that I can non-permanently put up decorations!